As bullying methods evolve from schoolyard taunts into threatening text messages and harassing Facebook groups, schools aren’t sure how involved they should—or can—get. Some parents are increasingly desperate for educators to intervene immediately; others think educators should butt out of what kids do outside of the classroom. Trickier still, discipline codes and state laws don’t usually address off-campus bullying, and court rulings are split. The New York Times takes an extensive look at schools attempting to deal with the issue.
Some schools discipline even if the bullying took place off school grounds, but that can become a pricey problem if the parent decides to sue: One Beverly Hills dad, arguing it’s up to the parent, not the school, to punish a child for such things, won a case he filed on behalf of his daughter, who was suspended over a video she posted to YouTube. So did he punish his daughter, whose video referred to her classmate as “ugly” and a “slut”? Of course he did: He told her “that wasn’t a nice thing to do.”