Thursday, May 24, 2012

Facebook "Brawl" at Whitman

This from the Times:


A fight yesterday morning between students, siblings and parents at Whitman Middle School in Crown Hill apparently started as a result of Facebook messages related to a student’s sexual preference, according to police.

One participant was arrested, according to a Seattle Police Department report. Two others suffered minor injuries.

The brawl started at about 7:45 a.m., as parents were dropping off their children for school, according to the report.

One parent told police she was there because she heard her daughter was going to be attacked by other students who had threatened her on Facebook. Another participant said she was dropping off her little sister when she was approached.

An argument broke out, which led to shoving and then a full melee, according to the report.
At least five people were involved.

It ended when Whitman Principal Sue Kleitsch got tangled up in the melee, according to the report.
Police, called to the scene, helped break up the fight and interviewed those involved. 

What a mess.   It would be interesting to know what interchange could set off a fight like this.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Middle school? I wonder if these kids with facebook pages are 13 or older which is facebook requirement. I am amazed at how many parents let their kids signup for facebook before they are 13 and then complain about the results.

FHP

tech savvy said...

What grade are these kids in? Most 6th-7th graders are not legally or contractually allowed to have Facebook accounts. This is yet another reason to heed the law (and common sense), keeping kids free of these sites and engaging with their peers In Real Life.

Yes, fights can take place at any school for many reasons, but Facebook, and actually any of the online social media sites, are breeding grounds for lots of bad stuff like this. Parents, monitor your kids online -- and that doesn't mean letting them loose on these sites, it means explaining to them why they are not allowed to use them until they're older. Many very knowledgeable people these days are questioning whether even older teens have the ability to understand the ramifications of what their activities on these sites means. It's the wild west out there.

mirmac1 said...

I am noticing that, at this time of year, the bullying and nastiness is at its peak. WHAT ANTI-BULLYING curriculum and action plan is in place?!

I am particularly incensed at the bullying of students with autism. I'm sorry, but parents of bullies need to get a clue!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mirmac1 said...

Reposting for Anonymous before it disappears...

"Thanks mirmac1 for jumping on the real issue-bullying. I love how it the comments went straight to the are they old enough for facebook? A lot of 7-8th graders ARE old enough. But regardless, it is up to parents to teach their kids how to conduct themselves online, but this particular issue is one of those convoluted messes where 'who is responsible' for stopping it is firmly in the grey area. It's not happening on school grounds, but it's in people's homes following them anywhere they have an internet connection. And then it spills over into school, or starts there and spills onto the interwebs...big mess and indeed the 'wild wild west'. Schools have to have a strong anti-bullying curriculum and action plan and be willing to step in and stop the bad behavior even when it's not actually happening on school grounds."

Anonymous said...

Oh I agree with the anti-bullying emphasis being needed but there are a lot of kids under 13 on facebook. Facebook allows bullying to be that much worse.

FHP

mirmac1 said...

No Facebook for my kid. She's twelve.

word said...

I think Facebook accounts should be handled like tattoos - you might regret having one some day.

Snoop Zogg said...

Long-time teacher, scoutmaster, parent...

I don't think one teenager has EVER been made happy, smarter or better through Facebook. It only causes problems.

Can't wait until it goes under (and it will when the next big thing comes along).

Anonymous said...

Facebook: The New Frontier for Sad People.

WSDWG

hschinske said...

Facebook is just a way to communicate, and a lot of communication of all kinds goes through it. Unless you want to argue that no human was ever made happier, smarter, or better by communicating with another, I don't see how your argument holds up, Snoop Zogg. My friends definitely post things on Facebook that make me happy, and occasionally better informed. Whether I'm any better a person thereby, well, that's difficult to say. I don't think I'm worse.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

The real issue is not just Facebook, but why the heck did the parents feel it necessary to engage in physical confrontation with students and schools administrators?

Lots more going on here I think.

'Whoah"

Just saying said...

Unfortunately the district got rid of mike donlin who developed curriculum around cyber bullying when they cut downtown jobs two years ago. He was a wonderful speaker and resource, having connections that he used to educate students.

Anonymous said...

I think bullys will find ways to bully. Before FB, back in the stone age (late '60s–early '70s) kids used the phone, and notes passed in the halls, and areas outside school or on the fringes of the school yard to bully.

FB is a great way for everyone who has friends outside their physical space to be and stay connected. My daughter has friends from all of the city. I have friends all over the country and in a few other countries. Without FB, my contact with them would be confined to the annual holiday card, and maybe, if we're lucky, birthday cards and the occasional phone call.

My daughter has stayed in touch and remained friends with kids from elementary school, middle school and summer drama classes, as well as her family (cousins, aunts & grandmother) back east.

You can't blame FB for this. You can only blame the ignorance and intolerance of people. If they want to hate, they will find a way.

Solvay Girl

Jan said...

The problems (or at least some of the problems) with Facebook, as I see it are that:
1. Being removed from face to face contact allows some people to be "meaner" than they otherwise would be (not just because of cowardice, but also because they simply aren't horrid enough to say stuff like that to a person's face and deal with the reaction). This is one reason why (at least in MY junior high) a lot of the "mean girl" stuff happened by notes being passed, and whispers. At some level, the girls involved knew they were misbehaving -- but lacked the internal "cop" to resist. On Facebook, it is all "facelss."

2. As others have noted, whatever mean stuff is said is both widely (and permanently) disseminated. Whispers are forgotten. Folded notebook paper gets thrown away. But bits and bytes last forever.

Hard to think of a worse combination. I do think though that this points out part of the "problem" of trying to distinguish what is "at school" and what is "at home -- and therefore not within the realm of school authority. Physically, kids are only in one place at one time. But socially, their schoolyard and their online lives are sometimes pretty seamless.

Disgusted said...

From the PI:


A fight between students, siblings and parents broke out Wednesday morning at Whitman Middle School and only ended when Principal Sue Kleitsch was knocked down while trying to break it up, according to the Seattle Police Department.

Anonymous said...

I want to credit Hamilton counselors (including Juli Keith, who is being RIF'd) for the anti-bullying work they have done this year, from films such as "Finding Kind" and "Bullies" to one-on-one counseling for students. As the parent of a boy who was harrassed and physically threatened by girls online, I know that some parents are proud of NOT monitoring and claim that doing so is a violation of kids' privacy. Which is insane. Kids need coaching until they get it. And clearly, some parents need some training in this area, to learn the ethical and legal consequences of libel, slander, and threat of harm.
--HIMS parent

Lisa said...

HIMS parent, I didn't know Juli Keith was being RIFed along with the orchestra teacher. HIMS parents ought to be up in arms about this! Instead it is like it is a secret. I hope all HIMS parents who have had their child positively impacted by Ms. Keith will send letters to the district and school board! I realize this is not about quality of work, but ironically I can think of a couple duds among the generally excellent HIMS staff. It is hard to stay positive and not think "Why not that person instead?"

Anonymous said...

As a teacher who sees a lot of the HS drama created via cell phones (some via Facebook on phones, but a lot via other cell phone tools), I'm curious what the readers of this blog think about severely curtailing cellphones in the schools.

Our school has a policy, but it's so inconsistently applied in the classroom that the issues remain. I can absolutely guarantee that some of the phone addicts (no other way to describe them) are damaging their academics severely because they literally get freaked out nervous when some of us insist on staying with the lessons and not allowing them to see who called (so they suddenly need to go to the bathroom after the vibration noise).

And for goodness sake, if your kids have a phone, please check the phone logs and IF they're texting during class time take the phone away... seriously.

OH, all students sign a district form which specifically forbids FB type sites as non-academic and I'm pretty sure they're consistently blocked - some students access them via going around the security protocols, although this can result in their computer account being suspended.

**Anon teacher who enforces cell phone/FB policy**

Anonymous said...

Facebook = Wastebook until the brain has finished developing (age 25). Adults might be corresponding with international friends from college 20 yrs ago, perhaps there's a point (but I'd still say, pick up the phone every 3 months). Teens, however, are generally wastebooking with people they see frequently, and some are talking lots of smack-- so in my house, the kids are not on, and won't be until dishes are routinely cleaned, laundry folded without asking, car waxed, and they finally have acually time to Waste on Wastebook.

Not Wastin'

Maureen said...

(including Juli Keith, who is being RIF'd)

Can some of you out there help me think of what we should ask to cut so that counselors can be reinstated in Seattle Schools, K-12? From what I understand, 16 more counselors are being RIF'd this year (so about $1,000,000 worth roughly since they are the ones with the least seniority).

Whitman and Lafayette clearly need counselors. All of our schools do. To pretend like cutting them is keeping cuts 'out of the classroom' is ridiculous.

For communities that are trying to keep their counselors, what should be our 'ask?' I'll start:

(1) Drop MAP = $500,000 (Source:SeattleEducation. #2 Update.)

(2) Either don't replace Noel Treat as Asst Supe, or reduce Exec Directors to four from six = $200-300,000 (Source: SPS Salaries.)

Maureen said...

Not Wastin', OMG! You WAX your car! (My 18 year old just had to vacuum two years of compost out of the minivan to take it to the prom! I was hoping no one in Seattle still waxed!).

Anon teacher, THANK YOU for enforcing policy! I HATE it when there are written rules/policies/procedures that are not enforced. I think it teaches kids that all rules are suspect. THat said, I do occasionally text my kids during school, with the expectation that they will have the self control to wait until a break or after school to check.

Disgusted said...

How about asking administrators to take furlough days or pay cuts?

I hate to saya this, but the district is taking dollars out of the operating budget for CBA (under MGJ) that was never sustainable.

SBBR said...

SPS's dumb decision to RIF Mike Donlin was a gain to the greater education community, in that he was snapped up by OSPI and now is a resource for all districts.

As for the RIF'd counselors, the Board owns the decision to cut elementary counselors, which is turn leading to senior elementary counselors bumping experiences secondary counselors out of thier jobs and to being laid off. The process of how the RIF itself is going down is a product of the contract with SEA that puts seniority above all else, including relevant experience and school fit. So if you want change on that front, don't forget to direct complaints to both the district and the union.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ditto on thanks to the teacher for enforcing the rules. Too many high school principals shrug and teachers say it's too hard. I don't get it.

Lisa said...

My suggestion for savings would be to change the math curriculum for elementary and middle school. Buy hardcover textbooks and dump Everyday Math with its constant need to re-purchase workbooks; dump Connected Mathematics' flimsy softcover "units." Maybe we can score some cheap used hardcover textbooks from another district going down the reform math road. Hardcover books are nearly a one-time expense. They last for years and the good ones are always in style.

Anonymous said...

Not Wastin' YES! Kids don't "need" facebook or text phones, it's a toy which can be harmful and should be taken away if misused. Unfortunately there are too many spineless parents out there who won't do the right thing to remove these digital distractions that harm their child's academic and social development! Get your middle schooler a cheap, unattractive prepaid phone just for contacting YOU! Limit and supervise computer use just as you should their TV! (duh)

-Wake up, Parents! You need to be the grownup

Anonymous said...

My daughter is at a private grade school (K-8) and the students are required to put their phones on the teachers desk during the day or keep it turned off and pur away in their backpacks. If they are caught using a phone during school hours, the phone gets taken away immediately and the parents have to come pick it up. Just the fear of having the phone taken away works like a charm.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is at a private grade school (K-8) and the students are required to put their phones on the teachers desk during the day or keep it turned off and pur away in their backpacks. If they are caught using a phone during school hours, the phone gets taken away immediately and the parents have to come pick it up. Just the fear of having the phone taken away works like a charm.

My daughter will be at Hale next year. It will be interesting to see the differences.

FHP

TLM said...

We use our cell provider's available kid monitoring program to set the times our child can use the phone. If it's not possible to turn it on during school hours-voila! No use in school. We also have blocks on the computer to prevent even accidental access to inappropriate sites, but we also periodically check what's being surfed, looked up etc. No Facebook until 13, period.

That said, the best way to ensure your child isn't going to be a bully or a target is to simply pay attention to what is going on in their lives, technology or not.

But I add that long before cell phones or computers I was bullied pretty mercilessly in middle school. The kids were quite successful using what they had at hand-home phones, notes and name-calling in the halls. Anyone who thinks this is new or worse wasn't a victim way back when. I was lucky that my parents stood up for me and helped me realize I was none of the things I was being called.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The best way to head some of this off is for schools to have rules and every single staff member to enforce them, consistently.

dw said...

Wake Up said: Unfortunately there are too many spineless parents out there who won't do the right thing to remove these digital distractions that harm their child's academic and social development!

One problem is that a lot of the spineless parents are themselves addicted to their damn phones! How often do you sit at a restaurant or social event and see people texting away, looking down, thumbs flying. It's just sad.

and Get your middle schooler a cheap, unattractive prepaid phone just for contacting YOU! Limit and supervise computer use just as you should their TV! (duh)

All great advice. Middle schoolers don't need to be blabbing or texting with their friends incessantly (or even at all), but it can be extremely helpful at times for them to have an easy way to reach a parent immediately.

dw said...

TLM said: No Facebook until 13, period.

That is a absolute legal minimum. Many would suggest best practice adds a couple (or few) years to that number.

and: That said, the best way to ensure your child isn't going to be a bully or a target is to simply pay attention to what is going on in their lives, technology or not.

Absolutely true. The problem is how to reach parents who aren't paying attention. Most of us here, by definition, are among the parents who are involved with our children and their education.

and: But I add that long before cell phones or computers I was bullied pretty mercilessly in middle school. The kids were quite successful using what they had at hand-home phones, notes and name-calling in the halls. Anyone who thinks this is new or worse wasn't a victim way back when. I was lucky that my parents stood up for me and helped me realize I was none of the things I was being called.

I think most of us saw this at one time or another growing up. Bullying isn't new, but cyber-bullying IS new, and it's a different world. The rules are different, the "notes" never EVER go away, the lack of adult supervision allows things to get out of hand more easily than in real life, and while some may say "sticks and stones...", there's definitely carryover into real life, as we saw at Whitman.

The FTC is attempting to broaden their information collection restrictions for children using these sites, but idiots like Zuckerberg think kids should be using Facebook even before they turn 13, and has publicly said "That will be a fight we take on at some point. My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age." Yeah, that's what we need, everyone living under the watchful eye of Facebook from birth to death. Idiot.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RX_pZTlERaI

A cute little video called Put Your Phone Down on this whole issue of student phone addiction...


** No Phones during class supporter