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The Internet Government Politics

Internet Pranks in Schools 404

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the like-putting-electromagnets-on-your-teachers-dell dept.
Ferante125 writes "An interesting article about online pranks by students and teachers' responses to them. There are some interesting stats that sounded a little hard to believe. My immature side finds it funny and my more mature side is interested in the legal aspects." For the most part it seems like this article thinks pranks are basically just name calling and flaming on websites.
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Internet Pranks in Schools

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  • by hsdpa (1049926) * on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:21AM (#22545776)
    Hmm, interesting article. The definition of "prank" isn't just name calling and flaming. We have to re-define the term to include modern equivalent actions that corresponds to the term "prank". What is an acceptable on-line prank and what isn't?
    • Lame (Score:5, Funny)

      by Stanistani (808333) on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:25AM (#22545836) Homepage Journal
      Obviously these students need to be indoctrinated in the latest Internet memes:
      There were no rickrolls, and not even a single Longcat reference.
    • by markswims2 (1187967) on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:28AM (#22545864)
      The "pranks" in the article sound like flaming and name calling, which don't seem like much of a prank to me. I would consider defacing websites more of a prank. Of course, all the pranks i remember doing always leaned on the wrong side of the law... moving an office to the hallway... decorating and relocating a car... you know, creative pranks that require time, effort, and a little adrenaline.
      • by Calinous (985536) on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:49AM (#22546100)
        Moving an office or relocating a car a few parking spaces or so (even decorating it if the decorations can easily be washed off) is not jail material - an judge will look at this and think "why do you waste my time".
              Yet, the article contains this:
        "Last month, Charlotte became the second North Carolina school district to criminally charge a student for creating a website that accused a teacher of criminal behavior including pedophilia."
              This sets you on the bad side of the law, and if you don't have any proof, a judge won't be amused.
        • Actually, that exact thing happened recently on a site I run. The teacher emailed me and just asked me to take the post down, and also said he didn't hold me or my site responsible. Of course, the site rules clearly state that the posters are responsible for what they post, not us. But still. I'm glad to see that at least one teacher handles this in the proper way (ie, being civil and hating the correct party). According to the teacher, this poor kid is getting slapped with a lawsuit and criminal charges for defamation of character. Oh well, ce la vie.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Brian Gordon (987471)
            I don't know, this seems ridiculous to me. I like this quote from TFA:

            "What I'm not seeing is school officials approaching this in an adult manner," says Vic Walczak, the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Pennsylvania. "They're approaching it in an authoritarian fashion...."

            Teachers invest way too much in their authority.. they freak out when kids figure out a way to subvert it, so the situation escaletes to litigation. I don't really get it- if the teachers would teach something wor

            • by Malevolyn (776946) *
              You're absolutely right, actually. I do want to point out that I wasn't supporting the teacher's litigation, but rather the fact that he didn't blame me. Which would be kinda stupid, anyway. I mean, I didn't post anything about him. There's a site somewhere on the tubes that has a list of the top 10 worst teachers (it includes the one that smashed that kid's cell phone). There's a French teacher on the list who attacked a student who refused to cooperate. When I say "refused to cooperate," I mean to say "di
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by cornercuttin (1199799)

              Teachers invest way too much in their authority.. they freak out when kids figure out a way to subvert it, so the situation escaletes to litigation.

              authority is the only thing that teachers have that can force kids (anyone under the age of about 24 or 25 is still just a kid) to listen and obey. that main sound a bit scary and totalitarian, but guess what, that is the way it is for the rest of your life.

              in the work place, you have a boss. he must maintain his authority and invest in it heavily in order to get his workers to work hard, especially in today's competitive world, to keep his business afloat. he must demand the respect of his employe

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by b4upoo (166390)
      I think the law and school authorities need to be absent from the net. I can not imagine how flimsy a line of reasoning can be to allow school authorities to regulate students at home. And then after reading the article I find that the idea that a teacher can claim harm over bruised feelings ridiculous. For example the student may have made fun of the teachers fat legs on the net. But the defect is in the teacher not the student. A person who is so locked in to valuing what others think of them is disp
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dragonslicer (991472)
        Assuming that this is the part of the article that you're talking about:

        In the so-called "Teacher Sux" case in Pennsylvania, for example, a high school student put up a website about a teacher with threats and comments such as "she shows off her fat ... legs."

        I would agree that a comment about fat legs should not be actionable. I would think (read: hope) that the lawsuit would be more about the "threats" part. Why the article would seem to put more emphasis on the childish insult than on the threats, I have no idea.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Barsteward (969998)
      The best pranks i've seen were the joke program that screams "hey come here and look at this, I'm watching pron" and few minutes of running and the other was a progam put into the autoexec.bat and did the following on boot up.... it sounded a couple of beeps then displayed the following text very slowly... "Water detected in the computer Please wait.... Spin dry cycle starting" At which point the floppy disk drive was powered up slowly until it reached at top speed and held it there for a few seconds. then
      • by element-o.p. (939033) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:51PM (#22547954) Homepage
        When my youngest brother learned Visual Basic, he wrote a small program to display an alert window with the following message:

        "Hard drive error detected...reformat C:\?"

        The only response option it gave was "OK". Then he put the program in the autoexec.bat file on my dad's computer. It only took my dad about two or three seconds to figure out that it was only a prank, but for those two or three seconds, he was white as a ghost. It was priceless to watch.
    • by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:50PM (#22546994) Homepage Journal
      I noted this line in the article: "Last year, Mooresville, N.C., authorities had arrested two students for making threats and racial slurs online about a principal."

      Now...I understand that the students can be arrested for threats...but, racial slurs?

      While such things are despicable....I don't think at this time, that they are illegal, and are indeed protected speech.

      While you may not agree with people...they still can say what they like or dislike about a person's race, sexual preference, etc without govt. intrusion. There is a difference in arresting someone for threats, and yet a WHOLE other thing if trying to arrest for 'thoughts' and opinons expressed. That latter one gets scary.

      • by jahudabudy (714731) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:49PM (#22547930)
        Actually, at least in NC, racial slurs in conjunction with threats are illegal. Hate crimes. [ncdoj.com] The threats are illegal by themselves, but the added "hate" aspect increases the penalty.

        There is a difference in arresting someone for threats, and yet a WHOLE other thing if trying to arrest for 'thoughts' and opinons expressed. That latter one gets scary.

        You have to put it in a historical context. Yes, in a perfect world, people should be allowed to express thoughts and opinions with out fear of the consequences. Unfortunately, NC and other places have quite a bit of experience telling us that it is a short quick hop from threatening someone based on their race to actually harming them b/c of their race. You can criticize someone's race (the KKK is perfectly legal), but you can not threaten them. You can't threaten anyone, legally, but so called "hate crimes" add an extra penalty in an effort to head off things like lynching and gang-raping someone simply b/c they are the wrong color. After 50 years or so of *winkwinknodnod* b/c the victim was black, swinging a bit too far the other way doesn't strike me as that bad of an idea.
        • by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday February 25, 2008 @02:05PM (#22548178) Homepage Journal
          "You can't threaten anyone, legally, but so called "hate crimes" add an extra penalty in an effort to head off things like lynching and gang-raping someone simply b/c they are the wrong color. After 50 years or so of *winkwinknodnod* b/c the victim was black, swinging a bit too far the other way doesn't strike me as that bad of an idea."

          I gotta disagree. I live in the deep south myself. The days of intimidation of a community, say the black one...is a thing of the past. You simply aren't going to get away with it, and the community itself won't stand for, nor be cowered for it.

          And lynching anyone or raping them for whatever reason...be it the lunar cycle, or due to race or sexuality...is still a crime. The reason it was done does NOT make it any worse!! If you associate race or sexual preference with a crime...say murder, you're saying it is more wrong to kill them because of their color, than for any other reason? Killing a black man is worse than the killing of a hispanic man? That sounds to me like giving one profile greater worth under the law than the other. Murder is murder...someone ends up dead, and it is horrible and needs to be punished...the same.

          We've come a long way in 50 years....I don't see that making a crime (already against the law) worse by making it a 'hate' crime is justified in this day in age. Nobody gets away with the *wink*wink* crap anymore, it is immediately on tv...and you have outrage about it broadcast nationally.

  • by spyrochaete (707033) on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:21AM (#22545780) Homepage Journal
    In grade 8 mid-last-decade a friend and I wrote a little BASIC program on our class's standalone Apple IIe something like this:

    10 ? "Bwahahaha! I am the Michaelangelo virus!";
    20 GOTO 10

    This caused a bit of a stir in our class for half a day before we fessed up. I suppose I'm fortunate to have escaped without prosecution.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by garcia (6573)
      I wrote one (on the same "platform") that caused the computer to beep and wait. I copied it to all 25+ computers in the typing lab and ran them so it would beep in succession and then repeat.

      I thought it was pretty damn funny, even when I got 25 hours of detention for malicious use of the computer system :roll:
      • That's awesome! My shenanigans were never grandiose enough to involve the whole computer lab. Having used nothing but standalone computers all my life I was too busy being astonished by the realtime local chat client on our Unisys Icon QNX systems.
      • by xaxa (988988)
        Making the CD drives eject at random intervals (every hour or so, with 30 PCs in the room) was better :-)

        Granted, with your UID you probably didn't have CD drives at school (I remember when I was 10 asking permission to use the single PC with a CD drive to use Microsoft Encarta).
      • by vertinox (846076)
        I thought it was pretty damn funny, even when I got 25 hours of detention for malicious use of the computer system :roll:

        Amaratures! When I learned the Novel "send" command in 10th grade I used it for a very funny system wide message and didn't get caught.

        Of course I used someone else's workstation to do it ;)
      • by RulerOf (975607)

        I copied it to all 25+ computers ... so it would beep in succession and then repeat.

        I did a something similar in high school. My physics teacher had several multifunction stopwatches we used for labs, each had an alarm. Some had their alarms enabled, none were set to the right time, so I offered to "Turn off the alarms and set the clocks."

        40 minutes later, I had set each alarm for the same time--during my class--and staggered the clocks on each watch to be six seconds apart from the next.

        I ended up ruining a good 5 minutes of the next day's class due to the hilarity that ensued.

      • by greeze (985712) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:39PM (#22547740)
        When I was in university, I worked in the campus computer lab. One night after hours, a friend of mine and I recorded 35 distinct and separate fart sounds. They were all very small toots: a squeak here, a poot there... they all sounded like the farts you try to sneak out when you're in a public space, but they come out a little louder than you'd hoped. We then set each of them as the hourly chime on all 35 of the Mac 8500's in the Mac lab. Since the clocks on all the Macs were off by anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, the farts didn't all sound at the same time.

        It would start a few minutes before the hour: over there in the corner of the room you'd hear a little "squeee." The poor CS student working on his midterm would look around, embarrassed. A few seconds later, another student's machine would respond with, "brrrt." As the hour approached, the farts got closer to each other until the entire lab was abuzz with flatus. And as the hour receded into the past, the farts would peter out slowly.

        It took several days before the staff finally caught on to what was happening.
        • I applaud your penchant for mischief and your anecdotal prose. To hear such a juvenile prank story told with such eloquence borders on a work of art. In particular the "squee" had me laughing embarassingly loudly at my desk. Well done, sir.
    • Mid-90's and the class computer is an apple ][e? wtf?
      • by Nimey (114278)
        Not that odd. The //e was in production until mid-1993 and some school districts are poor, and there's a certain amount of inertia, especially if the teachers are all used to the old platform.
      • My school district, for both elementary and secondary, was incredibly overpopulated and underfunded. In high school our computers classroom had 30 computers all sharing one 14.4 baud modem for internet access. I probably didn't help people do their work any faster by playing web bingo or using ICQ.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TofuMatt (1105351)

      My 8th-grade pranks involved exploiting a weakness in the regional school board's network and gaining admin access to the entire system, allowing me to make changes to things on a whim, and have access to every teacher's and administrator's e-mail accounts. My father, who was working as a programmer at the time, was simultaneously proud and miffed.

    • by Deadstick (535032)
      Why bother? Just load the BSoD screensaver...

      rj
    • by Firehed (942385)
      I had similar fun with the (Novell-based?) netsend command in a batch file. Given that you spam your sysadmin with popup windows, it's surprisingly difficult to stop for a two-liner.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Aladrin (926209)
      Ah, highschool. That was a fun time. Being the only one who was computer literate, I remember editing the batch file for PFS Write to display messages on other students' screens as they booted.

      Once that was figured out, the teacher was getting mad so I made it erase itself once they pressed a key, so when they tried to tattle... Nothing.

      I had so much fun with that little prank.
    • by Malevolyn (776946) *
      I accidentally (seriously, it was an accident) unleashed Sub7 onto my high school when some punk found it on one of the computers I used. Some friends and I were just playing around with it, not doing anything harmful. But this little nub managed to ruin about ten computers with it. He took the fall for it, though. At the next class period, the teacher gave us a lecture about vandalism. A number of us were very obviously trying not to laugh.
  • by jacquesm (154384) <j@NOsPAm.ww.com> on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:21AM (#22545790) Homepage
    If the gap between teachers and pupils is as large as the one between parents and children then it is no surprise that todays teachers really don't know what to do with the technology savvy generation that is about to supplant them.

    Schools haven't got a clue about the internet, how to use it and what it could bring them. Pupils are running circles around their supposed betters and are showing earlier in life a degree of independence that teachers wished they had had when they were young. Todays youth are so connected using cellphones, the net and social networking that they are as alien from the previous generation as any that has ever been.
    • by Silver Sloth (770927) on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:29AM (#22545868)
      With the rate of growth of technology being greater than exponential this gap is just going to increase. We are running into a major revolution in society where the old paradigms simply won't work. The only problem is that those with the authority to make the changes, almost by definition, don't have the understanding.

      But then, back in the 60's we thought that we were the misunderstood generation who were going to sweep away all the old farts and bring in the dawning of the age of Aquarius so some things don't change.
    • by Atlantis-Rising (857278) on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:34AM (#22545934) Homepage
      I really wonder what schools you are talking about.

      Yes, there are always a handful of individuals at the cutting edge, not only of technology but of culture. These people existed in previous generations, and they will always exist; in many ways, they operate very similarly across multiple generations, just with a change of medium.

      But the vast majority of today's youth also have no clue about the Internet, how to use it, and what it could bring them. They show exceptionally limited independent action and little to no independent thought.

      Today's youth may be connected- but there's no real information passing between them.

      There will always be a... cutting edge, a group of individuals both as students and as adults, who will find ways to use everything they have available in the best ways possible. This has always been true, and as a rule, people have never really known what to do about them.

      Unfortunately, as a student, I have far less confidence in my peers than you seem to.
      • by Calinous (985536) on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:58AM (#22546224)
        I've already posted, so I can't moderate - yet, I'd like to bow to the parent and say:
        Every generation had its stars, and every generation will have them. And the new generations have higher possibilities (mainly in access to information and possibilities of training), so they can do things the stars of the previous generations could only dream about. All the while, all this new technology makes it easier to work less for those inclined to do so, so the gap between the stars and the rest might even get wider.

             
        • by Atlantis-Rising (857278) on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:07PM (#22546348) Homepage
          I think this is very true. As a rule, the general 'trend' of knowledge and capability is increasing- we see the percentage of 25 year olds who have undergraduate degrees today is the same as the percentage of 25 year olds who had high school diplomas forty or fifty years ago.

          But the maximum, the possibilities, have increased immensely- in 50 years, we've developed in every field, from metallurgy to medicine to computers in ways that would never have been dreamed possible seventy-five years ago.

          And, as you posit, our transition to a knowledge-based economy has made it possible for those who aren't interested in self-development to essentially stagnate, comfortably, at an unusual lack of development, especially compared to those who DO focus on development and continue to advance.

          The financial gap between the rich and the poor continues to increase; and yes, so does the knowledge gap.

          Essentially, I think, you are starting to see a striation into class-like bands in our society- between those who want to develop and advance for advancement's sake and those who merely want to live their lives.

      • by zstlaw (910185) on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:51PM (#22547012)
        I have met some exceptionally talented high schoolers. In school have the free time to really keep up on all the new tech and enjoy the legal protection of juvenile criminal sentences that allows them to explore that side of the net with less risk.

        When I worked at IBM in Connecticut I met a core of about 8 high school students who had set up their high school computer lab and entire network by establishing close tie with a local college and then riding on the colleges internet connection. Three of these kids worked support at a local ISP as tech support, at least one was an open source developer, and the rest were mostly dabblers. But still they set up the entire computer lab and were more up to date on security than the security response team in IBM. They were the first to demonstrate to me how you could teardrop attack a competitor during a Quake match to lag them so you could get an easy kill. This was long before I heard of teardrop on the CERT mailing list.

        I had some great discussions with these kids and they helped me on rebuild my laptop (it needed some custom drivers for Linux as Linux distros for laptops were pretty rare back then.) Two went to work at priceline straight out of high school (with salaries higher than mine if I recall correctly.)

        Yet another example. One of the best programmers I met at MIT came into college knowing more about assembly programming than I knew when I left. He was the head printer driver developer for an American branch of a Japanese firm while in highshcool! He supplied me with free printers all through college as he would hand me the test prototype after he finished coding the driver. He would just sit down for a a weekend with a new device and code up a driver from the specs I still have no idea how he did this while doing a full coarse load. So don't imagine that age or education determines 1337ness of programming skills. They are potentially just as smart and creative as any adult, they just have less experience to make them well rounded. But if they focus on a single domain they can have a lot more breadth than you or I and as they have been learning more recently they will know all the latest techniques that us old timers will not yet have absorbed.

        Children are not dumb. They are the same as adults. Some kids are truly brilliant, others could kill a brick in a padded room. I know at least one teenager whom is fully self sufficient: working a job, paying rent, paying her own way through college, cooking meals, cleaning, etc.

        The self sufficient kids are almost always the ones I found to be intelligent and articulate beyond their years as they had no choice but to grow up. But on the other hand if the parent treated the kid like dumb pet that is almost always what they get. Luckily most kids grow out of that once they get out on their own.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Children are most definitely not the same as adults, as you went to great pains to explain on a handful of occasions in your post. That doesn't mean they're less intelligent or less competent; but they are different, just like women are different from men.

          There are trade-offs, advantages, and drawbacks to everything. To very roughly paraphrase: "For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven."
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by zstlaw (910185)
            Hmm, when I said children are like adults I meant that children are just like adults in that they have a large range of ability. The majority of children DO fall in between the extremes. Rereading your initial post I find that I agree with most of what you said about the gifted end of the range... Perhaps I need to spend some more time on reading comprehension... or have a child explain your message to me. *grin*

            I do disagree with your disillusionment with your peers. I do feel that the average high sch
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              The difficulty i really feel is exemplified by one time last week when the prof raised his hand and asked "How many of you, if you were to pay the same tuition and receive the same degree, would spend your years on a beach in Hawaii instead?"

              And everybody save two raised their hands.

              I of course, may have refused to raise my hand solely because I dislike beaches. But it showed what I thought was a disturbing endemic in the school population. Students don't come to learn. They don't care about learning. It do
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sakdoctor (1087155)
      That's a very positive view but not what I'm observing.

      The only generation gap I can see is a dynamic one. These barely literate retards with their social networking sites and mobile phone connectivity , which can hardly be classes as communication, leave school and realise that they "cnt wrt their CV n sms lang", then promptly grow up.

      Fundamentally I don't think that technology changes the rules of engagement that much.
    • by Chode2235 (866375)
      So many of the teachers, especially those in Jr. High (where I assume most of this is occurring) are in their 20's. They grew up with the internet, and computers, they have facebook pages, and ipods/iphones and the like. I know a lot of young teachers and they are as tech savy as anybody, they just have less money then most of their friends to buy the goods.

      Anyway, I challenge your assumption that the teachers are out of touch with technology. There are plenty of Gen Y teachers working out there in the w
  • by garcia (6573) on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:28AM (#22545858) Homepage
    In the so-called "Teacher Sux" case in Pennsylvania, for example, a high school student put up a website about a teacher with threats and comments such as "she shows off her fat ... legs."

    Critics, however, contend that words like "annoy" and "embarrass" are too broad and may infringe upon First Amendment protections of parody.


    Honestly, if she had fat legs and someone pointed it out to her in person would they have criminal/civil court documents filed over it? No, they would get detention/short-term suspension and move on with their lives. The recent rise in people being upset that a co-worker won't speak to them and is "threatening" because they dress in all black and wear sunglasses or that someone doesn't like them is created by this trend in secondary education that teaches people to behave like this.

    I just can't understand why a grown adult would not be able to leave the house because some little fucking bastard said she had fat legs on the Internet. Both the adult and the student need to grow up -- fast.
    • by Rampantbaboon (946107) on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:33AM (#22545926)
      Exactly. What do you think is going to happen when you willingly put yourself in posistion of authority over adolecents. I really don't get why labelling things as "online" makes them new and edgy. Making fun of the teachers is going to happen in middle and high schools. It will/has happen(ed) by whatever means of communication kids use. A teacher claiming she can't work because she got made fun of is like a firefighter complaining he can't work because fires are hot.
      • by Stooshie (993666)

        ... I really don't get why labelling things as "online" makes them new and edgy ...

        Because in most people's mind "the intertube[sic]" is like that bit on a map that says "here be dragons".

      • by joto (134244) on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:03PM (#22546298)

        I really don't get why labelling things as "online" makes them new and edgy.

        Because things on the Internet have the potential to (a) be seen by a lot more people, and (b) last almost forever. There's a difference between calling someone a fatass in the classroom or schoolyard, and doing it on youtube.

        It will/has happen(ed) by whatever means of communication kids use.

        Yes it will happen, but no, it shouldn't happen. There's a difference between descriptive and normative ethics. For example, I have never heard of teachers were the pupils posted posters all over town describing how much they disliked them. And if it happened, I'm sure it would involve a criminal case. Kids need to learn that with greater power (the Internet) comes greater responsibility. If they can't handle that responsibility, they shouldn't use the Internet. Lots of people probably shouldn't (and now I'm talking about posting stuff, not using Internet banking or similar things that everybody needs to do).

        A teacher claiming she can't work because she got made fun of is like a firefighter complaining he can't work because fires are hot.

        Actually, firefighters do that all the time. Going into a burning building is a very high-risk operation, and you need to carefully examine many factors, including temperature, before you decide to enter. Similarly, school-teachers are, like most people, emotional beings, and if the abuse is to large, they can't continue teaching.

        • by russotto (537200)

          Because things on the Internet have the potential to (a) be seen by a lot more people, and (b) last almost forever. There's a difference between calling someone a fatass in the classroom or schoolyard, and doing it on youtube.

          I don't care if some student calls a teacher a "fatass" on network news, and that clip becomes part of the trailer for the news for the next 50 years. It still cannot be a crime as long as the First Amendment stands. It doesn't even reach the level of defamation; it's just a juvenile

        • by russotto (537200) on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:44PM (#22546888) Journal

          For example, I have never heard of teachers were the pupils posted posters all over town describing how much they disliked them. And if it happened, I'm sure it would involve a criminal case.


          On what grounds, littering? It's legal to dislike someone. It's legal to say you dislike someone.
          It's legal to make posters describing how much you dislike someone.
    • I just can't understand why a grown adult would not be able to leave the house because some little fucking bastard said she had fat legs on the Internet. Both the adult and the student need to grow up -- fast.

      What I don't understand is the complete lack of common sense that these "education professionals" employ.

      Most people know that children cross the line at some point in their youth. Making mistakes is part of growing up. It's part of being human. I would think that teachers would realize this better tha
      • by GreyyGuy (91753)
        How does the kid learn it is a mistake if there are no consequences?

        Mistake + no consequences = Got away with it- let's do it again.

        I would suggest that some of the legal and administrative actions taken are a bit extreme, but at the same time I haven't been in that situation on either side.
    • by jandersen (462034) on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:57AM (#22546216)

      Honestly, if she had fat legs and someone pointed it out to her in person would they have criminal/civil court documents filed over it? No, they would get detention/short-term suspension and move on with their lives. The recent rise in people being upset that a co-worker won't speak to them and is "threatening" because they dress in all black and wear sunglasses or that someone doesn't like them is created by this trend in secondary education that teaches people to behave like this.

      I just can't understand why a grown adult would not be able to leave the house because some little fucking bastard said she had fat legs on the Internet. Both the adult and the student need to grow up -- fast.
      You have a point there - but there is a difference. As the amount of SPAM in most people's inboxes shows, the internet provides us with a terrifyingly efficient way of reaching large numbers of people. If you insult somebody face to face, that is between you and that person, and possibly a couple of people nearby, but what you put n the internet is visible to the whole world. This can easily be an overwhelming prospect for the victim of cyber-bullying. You know, even adults in high positions are just humans, and vulnerable.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by garcia (6573)
        You know, even adults in high positions are just humans, and vulnerable.

        Oh fuck that. I put up with and shelled out a ton of grief (I still do) in secondary school. You didn't see me hiding inside my house because assholes insisted that because I swam and shaved once a year that I was gay and that was before I was an adult... I expect that an adult be able to handle criticism, especially if it's fucking true.

        Hell, just a few months ago I was tipping the scales at 260 lbs and got poked fun at by my buddie
        • This post shows exactly how ridiculous the teacher in the discussion is acting. Someone was able to show that they can and do overcome adversity in educational and real life settings and become better people for it.
    • Garcia, your mamma is fat. [grin]
  • hacking servers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by musikit (716987) on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:33AM (#22545922)
    i taught for a couple of years as a volunteer teacher for C++ while with a company that was nice enough to give me time off to do this.

    one student disliked me so much he hacked AOL's IM database to disable my IM account.

    i had evidence it was him as well as people telling me he was bragging about it. at the end of the day i just tossed it up and said "hey he's still a kid making mistakes he'll learn" maybe not the best choice but presenting my evidence to superiors would have ended in blank stares.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "he hacked AOL's IM database"

      My ten bucks says you had an easily-guessed password. Most of those little snots talk a big game but can't handle doing anything more advanced than double-clicking the script.
    • hey he's still a kid making mistakes he'll learn
      Not without consequences he won't. That's where the whole "kids will be kids" approach sort of falls on its face and shatters its whole skull.
  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:34AM (#22545936) Journal
    Having taught computers to students before, I found quite a few of them.

    If it was something dumb and non-harmful, it was good for a laugh... this is where most teachers fail it.

    If it damaged an OS install, I'd make the kid stay after school the entire week and re-load every workstation image in the classroom each day.

    If it escaped the local network and damaged something else (fortunately I never saw that happen), then the kid gets to face the consequences full-on, and I would've been stuck with preparing a forensics report to show how it happened and what I would do to prevent it in the future.

    The point is to make this clear up-front, and if it isn't harmful, use it as a teaching aid. It also helps to know, as a techer, WTF you're doing around the machinery (unlike one Texas teacher who IIRC had a kid arrested for "hacking" because he used Windows Messenger to pass notes in class... can't remember the specifics, but it was a dumb overreaction to say the least).

    /P

  • by Thelasko (1196535) on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:45AM (#22546058) Journal
    Putting your high school up for sale [newsbank.com] is a prank.
  • by alapbj (1242530) on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:46AM (#22546064)
    Can you imagine the digital trail these kids are unknowingly leaving about their behavior on the net? Even now it's not unheard of to have employers google/myspace their applicants, on top of all the info aggregation services that are running wild out there.

    It's going to be a hard lesson to learn (for those that commit serious enough 'offenses') but I strongly suspect that the next generation of kids will know the risks as they get pummeled by their school with "Cyber Bullying awareness" classes and such along with all the other becoming an adult type sex education classes.
  • Pranks? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I wouldn't call the things in that article pranks. I'd call them nothing more than bullying or teasing. Granted they're using the internet to push that bullying/teasing to a much bigger audience, but that's all it really is.

    Back when I was in high school (gawd I'm feeling really old all of a sudden) back before Windows 3.0 existed, before most people knew what the internet was, I pulled some real pranks. The school had a demerit system that was managed on the same computer system that they used to teach
  • Apparently it turns out that people say mean things on the Internet! And teenagers are not immune to this tendency!

    This article has given me a new understanding of the world.
  • Dunno, our comp sci classes were pretty low brow, usually, when someone would step away from their computer in class, we'd open a web browser to something dirty like hardcore gay porn, then when they'd return act shocked and horrified as to what he/she was looking at in class.
    • by xaxa (988988)
      Are you at my university? Only last April when I was in the library revising, every time I left my computer unlocked I'd come back to find a zillion windows of meatspin.com on it (I didn't learn).
  • by cornercuttin (1199799) on Monday February 25, 2008 @11:59AM (#22546248) Homepage
    this article vastly undermines the severity of this situation.

    my wife is a teacher, and believe me, it is bad out there. she teaches 6th grade mathematics, and she is dealing with the internet, bullying, and humiliation on a weekly basis because of it. fortunately, the kids at her school aren't really old enough to know how to create proper websites yet, or dont have the money to sneak small webcams into the classroom, but their internet usage definitely affects the school environment.

    with the prevalence of myspace, many kids are threatening each other and bullying each other over the internet (i still dont see how cyber-bullying is possible, since you can always just "not go to that site", but whatever...). they get caught up in the "he said, she said" game, and say some very awful things. teachers are all advised not to have myspace pages or facebook pages, for if they post pictures of them at the beach, at the bar, or even at home, children can and will spin them so that the teacher somehow comes across in a bad light. and the kids are so resourceful that they dont even take into account what a teacher says about themselves. one of my wife's coworkers had a friend sign her "wall" or whatever in myspace, and the comment left made a reference to a stripper or stripping (something along the lines of "you looked like a stipper that night"), and the kids in her class saw the comment and started telling people around the school that one of the teachers was a stripper. of course, this made it all the way to the parents, and they began calling the school. the kids spun something that someone else said, not even what the teacher said.

    they are threatening each other, and posting inappropriate material about each other, which is creating fodder for the classrooms. 5th and 6th grade girls are posting pictures of themselves wearing little clothing, talking about their sexual experiences and knowledge online, and are basically begging to be preyed upon. what is worse is that the parents don't know and don't care. people can dismiss it as much as they want, and believe that it doesn't happen or that it is just a small percentage of kids. well, believe me, it is not. it is much worse than you think.

    it is a parent's responsibility to know what their child is doing on the internet. those who say that it is "too much work" and that their kid is "smarter than i am" are full of it, because we often do meet the parents who put in the work, who monitor their children properly, and who properly look after their children and prevent this kind of behavior. we know that parents can handle it because there is still a small percentage out there who do it right. the rest of them need to look at themselves, and not their children, and certainly not the teachers.

    teachers get paid a small amount of money to do a ton of work. my wife works 10 hour days, gets a 15 minute lunch, and is not only expected to be the one to educate them with the material that the school board deems appropriate (which grows larger every year), but yet she is expected to be their moral educator as well; a job she gladly does. most of them take pride in their work, and believe me, they hate giving out bad grades and low test scores because it makes them look bad. the problem with education these days is not the school, nor the teachers, nor the funding (believe it or not). it is the parents. parents have stopped being accountable. they have stopped checking their kids homework, monitoring their activity, and disciplining their children. they make excuses for their children (ADD, ODD, ADHD...), and often laugh at the behavior that their child is displaying. parenting in america has become a dismal affair.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by xaxa (988988)
      I think you could get cyber-bullying through instant messaging or email. And WWW: even if the victim doesn't visit a page about them (or a picture "of" them) it still exists, and the bullies will still talk about it. Also bullying through exclusion -- I remember the one kid at my school (around 2000) that everyone blocked on MSN Messenger.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Isn't this just a occupational hazard though? Lion feeders have to deal with the fact that their clientele may attack them, shouldn't teachers feel similarly? IMHO, the real problem is that teachers are horribly undervalued - I've known (and had) some real jackass teachers, because it seemed that teaching was the only job they could get. If teachers were more highly valued (like doctors/lawyers/etc), you wouldn't just fall into the job, you'd have to work hard to get it and would see this kind of stuff as a
  • So we can have more kids with laptops, and thus more fun pranks! :) http://digg.com/playable_web_games/New_Site_Launches_To_Help_You_Give_Free_OLPC_Laptops [digg.com]
  • I stopped right there. Um, harassing people on a website doesn't exactly make you "tech-savvy". Also, calling teachers names, passing notes, etc, has probably gone on for centuries. This is nothing new. I didn't care for the tech-savvy label, since places like MySpace make it so easy to throw up a website even a braindead monkey could do it.

    I think the teachers should up their knowledge on the subject, and confront the kids themselves. Teach them a little bit about the real world.
  • We just wiggled the power plugs loose from the back of the Apple II power supplies. They looked plugged in, but they weren't. Cheap easy lulz.
  • I'll play (Score:4, Funny)

    by hoggoth (414195) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:18PM (#22547434) Journal
    Since we're all sharing...

    When all we had was Dec printer terminals, I wrote a program that waited until I was long out of the computer room (about 30 minutes) and then sent a stream of form-feeds to all of the printers. Form feed shot a page of fan-fold paper out of the printer at high speed. The room filled up with curling paper and looked like someone dumped a box of detergent in all the washing machines at a laundrymat.

    After we upgraded to new-fangled CRTs (keyboard and monitors to you young'ens) I wrote a program that randomly drew an asci-art horse galloping across the screen from one edge to the other in the middle of whatever the user was doing. They never did find out where it was coming from or how to stop it. I quietly disabled it when the word "expelled" started being thrown around.
  • by Critical Facilities (850111) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:19PM (#22547446) Homepage
    As a parent who recently bought a home deliberately OUTSIDE the Charlotte-Mecklenburg system, let me assure you, these people don't have any idea what they're doing. This school district has been in the crapper for years and years. No small part of my wife's and my decision to move OUT of Charlotte was the schools. You can check CMS's test results [k12.nc.us] or you can find lots [johnlocke.org] of interesting [rhinotimes.com] facts, not to mention things like this [carolinajournal.com] or this [charlotte.com]. The list goes on and on.
  • by vorlich (972710) on Monday February 25, 2008 @03:08PM (#22549076) Homepage Journal
    I have said many times on slashdot that school is in fact a prison. The inmates generally despise the jailers and unless you wish to spiral off into an alcohol induced early retirement a sustained level of pranking is all that will keep you going.

    A long time ago in a galaxy far away, I always used to dress completely in black for the first day of term - suit, tie, shirt the lot - Gothed up to the max. I wore those pinz-nez glasses on a chord around my neck so that when I addressed a student, I had to peer over the top of them. Scared the living daylights out of the little darlings.

    There were five IMacs in my tutorial room and each one had the clock set 3 minutes ahead of its neighbour. The macs pipped, pinged and giggled on the hour, on the half hour and on the quarter hour. Drove some students mad but drove my boss madder. Students of course cannot work Imacs and were unable to retaliate even when I sent them (for stats practical) to determine the total consumption of potatoes and KFC (popular foods in that part of Scotland!) amongst their fellow students.

    I told them that the air conditioning system on the roof was a penthouse apartment, that another male lecturer, who dyed his hair and moustache(?) a charming shade of mahogany, had an unusual genetic condition and that was his natural colour.

    When students asked me where I had acquired all my computing skills I told them I learned them in Bar-L (The Scottish High Security Prison). When they asked me for an idea for the cover of the college magazine I suggested a crop circle in the shape of the college logo set in a potato field. When they were stumped for a design for the same magazine, I had them lay it out like one of those airline mags, although, rather disturbingly, this was regarded as award winning work.

    When my departmental head suggested the college have a top 100 books online poll, I had my students rig it so that Larry Niven's Ringworld was number one and Jane Eyre (her choice) was last! They also added 80 other hilarious titles. My head of department avoided contact with students at all costs and conducted most of her business via email. This was in the days before account verification so I regularly signed her up for every newsletter that had even the slightest connection with our faculty subjects. She was under the delusion that these internet sites had sought her out because she was so important a figure in the world of education...

    My college circulated a monthly staff suggestions form (probably to comply with some iso 9001 crap). I regularly suggested painting our corridors light pink to calm down difficult students. When I missed my flu jab I jokingly suggested that they implement a college wide vaccination program. Not only did they take up the idea, they awarded me 100 pounds for making such a practical suggestion.

    All of this pales into insignificance when I think that I could have sold the damn place on Ebay!
  • by kbielefe (606566) <karl.bielefeldt+ ... SBERGcom minus p> on Monday February 25, 2008 @07:33PM (#22552374)

    As a foster parent, I've had some really badly behaved kids come to stay with us. Do I blame their birth parents for teaching/allowing such behavior? Yes. Do I use that as an excuse to allow them to continue behaving badly under my care? No. This increasingly popular notion that we should wait for other people to fix our problems annoys me to no end.

    If it's a problem for the teacher, the teacher should deal with it. I don't buy the idea that there's nothing the teacher can do because it is constitutionally protected speech. That may limit the options, but it doesn't eliminate all of them.

    My personal child discipline method consists of two steps: find the underlying cause of the behavior, and find the right incentive to match. In this type of case, the underlying cause is probably covering for their own poor academic performance, or trying to boost their popularity among other poor performers.

    In the first case, I would offer a way to help them catch up, such as a redo of a dismal homework assignment. In the second case, I would threaten to embarrass them in class. That embarrassment would probably take the form of informing the class that people tease those they love, so I'm hanging this printout of a myspace page with a heart around it, because the student must really love me to tease me this much. I say the best way to fight bad free speech is with some more free speech.

    I'd feel compelled to inform the parents in any case, but I would offer to make that easier if they were cooperative, and would give the kid a chance to fix it first.

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