It’s time to ban cell phones in the classroom. Students don’t need them and they are a distraction. Worse than that, they are being used to damage teachers’ reputations via cyberbaiting.
Cyberbaiting is a new phenomenon in which students continuously ridicule and humiliate a teacher until the teacher loses it. They record the episode on their cell phones and then publicize it, sometimes via youtube. Twenty percent of teachers have been subjected to such attacks.
A teacher in Tennessee, pictured above, was a victim of one such attack. Students deliberately baited him until he lost it. After his meltdown, the students posted it on youtube. The teacher had a clinical breakdown and is on administrative leave. Those students should be charged with harassment.
There are cases when recording teachers makes sense, but they are not cyberbaiting because they are missing the baiting component. Two cases which are frequently cited in support of recording teachers involve two special needs students. In both of the following cases, if they are being portrayed accurately in the news, recording the incidents is understandable. Such cases are rare.
One 14-year-old disabled student in Ohio was verbally abused by her teacher and a teacher’s aide. No one believed her until the parents sent her in with a recording device.
“Are you that damn dumb? You are that dumb?” the aide says.
Another video was shot from the phone of a 15-year-old special needs student, who was called a “tard” by his teacher during a three-minute recorded rant. He even threatens the student: “I will kick your (expletive) from here to kingdom come.”
Cyberbaiting, which is meant to humiliate a teacher after inciting him/her, is not that and it is unacceptable. It is on the rise and it is something parents and teachers need to be aware of and address. Teachers shouldn’t have to worry about being recorded. They have enough on their plates. It makes one wonder what kind of young people we are raising in this country.