Middle School "Hate List" -- no freedom of "speech"?
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Thread: Middle School "Hate List" -- no freedom of "speech"?

  1. #1
    Online Community Director MissyJ's Avatar
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    Default Middle School "Hate List" -- no freedom of "speech"?

    I came across this story in the news and thought it was worthy of debate. I realize that we are living in far different times but I recall there were girls and boys alike in middle school that would create lists -- people they liked; those they didn't. I don't know that they were titled in any way. I thought it was silly then and silly now... I'm sure depending upon who you ask I was on both. Probably still am...

    Within this particular news story, three girls were suspended for 10 days (and possibly may face criminal charges if some of the other parents have anything to say about it.)

    Police: 3 girls suspended after making middle school 'hate list'

    It appears that the rumor mill has been labeling it a "kill list", but the report from the school Superintendent seemed to indicate that was blowing things out of proportion:

    Wilkinson said he received a phone call Feb. 6 after a school counselor found the list, which the girls had torn to pieces.


    "The counselor finds it and tapes it back together like a jigsaw puzzle," Wilkinson said. "The girls made a list of people that they hate... people that were picking on them or that they're jealous of. That paper was so ripped up, you can barely read names."


    Wilkinson said he gave the list to Washington Township police on Feb. 7.


    "Once we feel it's a terroristic threat, it goes to the police," Wilkinson said. "I talked to Chief Moody Thursday and gave him the list after making a copy. He said, 'Is this all you've got?' and I said, 'Yes.'"


    Wilkinson and Bellmar Principal John Grice last week interviewed each of the girls -- who he described as being "in tears" and "remorseful" -- and their parents.
    Do you feel that things have escalated to the point that kids aren't allowed the freedom to express whether they like/dislike others? In working with this age group (and teens), the words "love" and "hate" are often overused tremendously. I discourage the use of the word "hate" with my own kids, but still know they use it in reference to particular entrees they despise. :P

    I understand that there is a delicate balance of wanting to protect our children. Certainly there would be a cry of outrage if someone did make a "hit list" and acted upon it, if police knew about it ahead of time and failed to act. I just wonder if the word "HATE" automatically now reaches the form of being considered a "terrorist threat".
    Last edited by MissyJ; 02-19-2013 at 10:01 PM.

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    This is a hard one. On one hand, we do live in different times and lists like this could be potentially viewed as a threat, however I know that we did similar things during sleepovers like cutest boys or something stupid like that. It's a fine line to put people into lists with your friends of who you like/don't like and potential bullying.

    I think it would be a great teaching moment for them to learn why this can be viewed as a threat and at the very least how putting them on hate lists is just awful.

    I think once they determined there was no threat from the girls that should have been enough. I think their punishment is kind of harsh to be honest, sitting at the principals office every morning, eating lunch in a designated area....ick.

    Maybe the parents of the kids on the list, instead of running a witch hunt, should be worrying about their own children and why they were considered to be mean to these kids.

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    Posting Addict mom2robbie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jessica80 View Post
    Maybe the parents of the kids on the list, instead of running a witch hunt, should be worrying about their own children and why they were considered to be mean to these kids.
    What!?! Their little angels being mean!!! Of course not! And from the sound of the witch hunt that is exactly what is going on in their minds. We have heard of Robbie bullying a few times, believe me he got into a lot of trouble about it.
    Margaret (44)
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    "The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind." Caroline Myss

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    Posting Addict mom2robbie's Avatar
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    duplicate

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    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    I understand it going to the police and the girls being talked to. But really, those parents shouldnt even know that their kids name is on the list. This seems to have been handled so badly. Those poor girls.
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    My best friends husband is an elementary school principal. This happened at the ELEMENTARY level at his school. Yes, unfortunately this is going to land these kids in a lot of trouble, especially if they do such a thing on the internet (as happened in his case). If it specifically said "Hate" and not kill I would not involve the police. Kill? Yep, police.

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    Did it say Kill? There didn't seem to be a confirmation on that in this article..just that was what the parents were calling it.

    If it was a kill list...yes I agree with the punishment.

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    Prolific Poster bunnyfufu's Avatar
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    I remember "the slam book" well. In my hs days it was a pretty powerful little manifesto for bullying. There's power in words and while I do not think it is a terrorist level threat, it should be taken seriously. I remember it well. I was for sure bullied. it ripped into my hairstyle, my family. I was fearful and it lingered for months.

    I am not convinced that police should be involved, but counsellors, the principle and the parents for sure should address it.

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    Mega Poster mom3girls's Avatar
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    I am not convinced that the cops should be called if the word was hate. If it was kill then absolutely.

    I do have to say that if I found out that my kid was actively spending time writing something like that, even if it was hate, we would be having some major talks. I honestly cant imagine my 2 older DD's hating someone that much (my 3rd Dd is in kindergarten so I cant see her actually hating someone, but she may change)
    Lisa
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    Prolific Poster bunnyfufu's Avatar
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    I really want to read this book by Emily Bazelon.



    I am fine as an adult and I made it through by just being tough. . . but this story mimics my own bully situation so closely. It was painful.

    I had always been on the edges of the in crowd. But I was a little academic and artistic in a nerdy way. I love actually learning. Also, I was very bored with driving my friends around from house to house on the weekends as they smoked weed. I had the temerity to ask if we could find something else to do. Complete social implosion.

    The slam book. Plus the fact that I straightened my hair right as perms were going out of style - a little ahead of the curve, sent my social life into the ****can.

    10 days suspension sounds fine to me. Just fine. And I am glad to see that this kind of crap, that I am sure the intelligent grown-up teachers and counselors knew was going on, even back then. . . is not tolerated as it once was.

    It wouldn't have made my social life better in HS, that is for damn sure. But, it may have made me feel less terrified of mis-stepping socially by reinforcing that others thought that kind of behavior sucked.

    Then again, I really know and like myself now and I suppose it was formative.

    Mean people can suck it. So can mean kids.

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