Facebook fracas

Dara
Dara Squires
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A kid threw an ice chunk. Another kid did too. Another kid — a bystander — got hit.

Not the best scene to take place at a school. But the school dealt with it. The injured child was taken care of,  at least one of the ice chunk throwers was suspended. Kids can be idiots — we all know that. But that’s no reason to write off their idiocy. Action was taken to hopefully insure the throwers would learn a lesson.

And then the whole thing hit Facebook. Turns out the kid hit was the daughter of a teacher at the school. As for her father, he posted some negative comments about the event. Some nosy Parker, instead of challenging him directly, decided to send those comments on to the mother of the kid who hurt his daughter and to the school board.

Was the teacher right to rant on Facebook about something that happened at the school he teaches at? No. None of us should do that to our employer, really, though it’s sometimes hard to resist. As a parent is it normal to vent frustration and make judgment calls about kids who are being stupid and hurt your child? Definitely. It’s not exactly admirable, but it’s normal.

As someone watching all this go down, should you spread the misery to others or step in and express why the Facebook post is inappropriate? Stepping in is ideal. It’s what we tell kids to do if they see another child bullied. But that’s not what happened in this case.

And then it hit the media.

The mother of the insulted young man took it to the media. It’s hard to figure out why, as she’s demanding an apology but simultaneously saying she won’t accept one.

The teacher/father hasn’t had a lot to say, nor has the school board, but guaranteed they’re investigating and maybe realizing how important it is to train their employees in social media use.

The problem with this whole picture, aside from the immature actions started by two young men and continued by all the adults around them, is how quickly the … ice … hit the fan.

There was no need for this story to go to the media, though I’m sure CBC loved the extra page hits and commentary involved in this controversial discussion. There was no need for anyone other than the school and parents to get involved, though the teacher didn’t seem to think of that when he posted to Facebook about the incident.

Either way, the adults involved in this story — all of them — showed more lack of judgment than the ice-chunk-throwing teenage boys. And we’ve turned it into a provincial debate because we all like to feel like nothing can happen in this world without us being involved.

I, for one, am getting tired of parents running to the media every time they have a problem with their child’s school. I’ve had problems with my kids’ schools and/or teachers in the past and I’ve always dealt with them through the appropriate channels — as do most parents, I believe.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease, but shouting all the personal details of your petty fights to the rooftops does nothing but bring negative attention to your school, your community, and yourself.

The boy involved in this story? Now everyone knows he hurt a girl being foolish, a teacher thinks he’s a punk and his mothers’ parenting has been called into question. Whether these things are true or not, everyone knows them now because his mother went to the media with that information. They are now a matter of public record and you can guarantee whatever else he does in his life to earn positive attention will never get as much attention as this.

And the teacher?

Apparently, he’s either a hero ... or deserves to be fired. Either way, his actions and the publicity around them will tarnish his reputation forever.

That’s what happens when we take things to the public that belong in a responsible discussion between adults. We’re all aware of the dangers of sexting and teens online, but perhaps it’s time the adults in our children’s lives showed them that we don’t always need to be the center of attention.

You can comment on this column or access previous editions of Readily A Parent using the following short link: http://bit.ly/DaraSquires.

Organizations: CBC

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