There’s something I don’t understand about the local paper’s Sunday article about cyber-bullying and how schools are dealing with it. It’s actually quite a good story, and shows, without much exaggeration, how texting and Facebook are making the already uncomfortable experience of middle school even more unbearable.
But what struck me was the opening anecdote, in which the parents of a sixth-grade girl discover their daughter has received “a dozen shocking, sexually explicit threats” from the cellphone of a 12-year-old boy. Immediately, they bring the problem to the principal of the kids’ New Jersey high school:
Punish him, insisted the parents.
“I said, ‘This occurred out of school, on a weekend,’ ” recalled the principal, Tony Orsini. “We can’t discipline him.”
Had they contacted the boy’s family, he asked.
Too awkward, they replied. The fathers coach sports together.
Wait, wait, wait! What? I can understand the kids being too young and frightened to deal with this on their own. But the parents are supposed to be adults. The fathers even seem to have some kind of social relationship, but they consider it “too awkward” to discuss this serious problem?
What am I missing here? Is it because I don’t care about sports that I don’t understand why “coaching sports together” is a reason NOT to deal with this outside the school (and legal) system? Or is it because my daughter is too young for me ever to have had to deal with any kind of between-kids issue with another parent? I mean, I know that’s coming one day—we live in a small building with two other kids Sasha’s age, and surely one day one of them will do something to Sasha that I’ll have to talk to their dads about. Or vice-versa. But that will, I hope, be the advantage of having relatively close relations with kids’ parents—we know each other, and can deal with these problems much more easily.
Am I totally out of my mind here? Or are these cyber-bullied parents just pussies?