After a Palo Alto middle school student was the target of a student-led “I Hate [Student's Name]” Facebook group, some Silicon Valley parents are calling for a community dialogue about cyberbullying.
According to the Silicon Valley Moms blog, over 100 young people participated in the online group. Many of the public Facebook posts “ranged from insulting, rude comments to actual threats of violence” against the bullied student.
Although school district officials took measures to remove the Facebook group, some concerned residents are calling for a meeting about the harmful effects of intolerance and hate speech, and what the community can do to get to the root of the problem.
Parent Roxane Dover encourages Silicon Valley to stand together against cyberbullying in Cyberbullying: whose responsibility is it?:
“…[T]here are a whole lot of us who think that something more needs to be done — even if PAUSD cannot do it. That’s why I propose and am willing to work to coordinate a community meeting. Let’s invite PAUSD. Let’s invite Concerned Parents. Let’s invite Stanford. Let’s invite the PAPD. Let’s invite representatives from Not In Our Town, a national movement encouraging community response to hate crimes (and yes, some of the comments on this Facebook group rose to the level of hate crimes).
Let’s say to PAUSD: if you have done all that you feel you can do, we’ll do more. Because at the end of the day, I respect that laws tie the hands of our excellent school district, but I refuse to believe that we as a community cannot stand up against cyberbullying. We in Silicon Valley, this heart of technological innovation, can set the tone for our nation here.
Because when it comes to my original question ‘Whose responsibility is cyberbullying?’ there is no one answer. It has to be yours, and it has to be mine.”
Have any of you experienced cyberbullying in your community or school? What did you do? What advice do you have for these Silicon Valley parents and students?