Pro V. Con: HS Memes was an ineffective way to adress bullying issues
This is the con argument on the HS Memes assembly. To read the pro argument, click here.
The administration is “sick and tired” of cyber bullying, but honestly, who isn’t?
With the realization that JC has its own page on the website hsmemes.com came a flood of quirky commentary about the school and clever remarks on student habits. It was an overall positive, relatable, and funny website. However, all good things must come to an end.
Within 24 hours of its discovery, hsmemes.com was blocked on campus. Things went from funny to intensely negative as racist, homophobic, and student targeting comments started popping up on the site before and during Easter break. Principal Madelyn Ball’s address to the entire student body and faculty showcased her strengths as a principal, but also the faults in the administration when it comes to policing students’ Internet use.
After advisory on the morning of Monday, April 16, the student body was sent to the auditorium to be rebuked by Ball as she expressed how “sickening” and “pathetic” the abuse of hsmemes.com was. Ball’s repetition skills and loud inflection were showcased during her approach of yelling at the students and calling them “cowards.” In the case of anonymous cyber-bullying, threats don’t really get far, and it came off as hypocritical that her speech against bullying included calling students “cowards.”
The only scary thing about her speech was that there was no division of the good and the bad. I, along with many others, left the auditorium unsure if anyone who made a meme could punished, whether their meme was negative or not. It would have been more effective to just express the disappointment that the administration has for the students since threats and punishments can only go so far.
Part of the solution for cyber-bullying over hsmemes.com comes in the form of firstname.lastname@example.org Once again, the speech that Ball gave did not give clarification on how this new anonymous tip site will work. From her speech, it appears that any student who knew of someone that made a meme can simply email that person’s name to the site.
It would be nice to know that a school supposedly filled with “at least 30” cyber-bullies is not putting students at the mercy of other students when it comes to being reprimanded or punished. It would not be all that difficult send the name of a person that you dislike to the principal’s office with that system.
While Ball did a good job in addressing the student body in a take-charge way, her threats and scare-tactics did not translate well. Stuffing the entire student body into the auditorium just to be yelled at and then sent out silently was not the best approach. If the administration wants a change, then the students should be addressed on a personal level.
A cyber-bullying seminar that addresses students in groups would do much more than an assembly. Revisions to the Student Handbook should be made to define cyber-bullying so that punishments will be clear and outlined. The administration was thrown for a loop when it came to the Twitter scandal and is now looking for student help to find perpetrators. Cyber-bullying in our school is a gray area that needs to be addressed properly in order to be fixed.
Chioma Iheoma is an A&E Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.