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Is Mrs Sharma PMSing this week?

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Social networking sites, status messages, blogs are being used as a weapon by angry - and sometimes needlessly nasty - students against their teachers.

An alarmingly fast-growing number of students are brazenly venting aggression against their teachers, principals and schools online without any hesitation. And social networking sites that have become popular off-campus hangouts for students help achieve this increasing angst.

Today, the immediate consequence of a student-teacher face-off in the classroom can be a scathing tirade against the teacher that's posted on the interwebs for everyone to see. Often, these comments are open for all to read. It's up on status messages, and sometimes students post them on the school's community page with hesitation. "Feel bindaas to say whatever you want about your teachers. They obviously don't know how to use Orkut!" reads the community disclaimer of a Mumbai-based school.

Poll questions once read: "Which is the teacher you hate the most?" or "Which teacher should be suspended forever?" They now ask, "Who is the bitchiest ma'am ?" and "Is Mrs Sharma PMSing this week?"

Many a teachers' reputation has been shredded into smithereens with even alumni joining the slander fest. This is largely because most school community pages are set up by students or ex-students and not by the school administration or management. This means a large number of free-wheeling posts that are not moderated. Students like to believe their teachers do not have access to these forums. This might be true in many cases, but there have been several instances of punitive action in the form of students being suspended for weeks for their uncensored penmanship.

On the Facebook page of a reputed boys' school in Mazgaon, members discuss about how the "new dumb bitch" should stay in her limits. "She's like a freaking time bomb. The closer you are, the more the chance of her killing you, " reads a comment supposedly aimed at the new principal.

Recently, a Thane school principal who suffered an online assault of parodies composed by her own standard 9 and 10 students turned things around when she was intimated about an online community in her name. The enterprising principal roped in the cyber crime police to lecture the students about how they were liable to punishment for defamation. This effectively put a stop to the abuse, especially after the students were fooled into submitting their personal email IDs to the cops. "Now that we have your IDs, we are going to make sure your PCs are tracked, " the cops warned them. It's probably an idea more schools can implement.

Reader's opinion (7)

Sakshi KhandelwalDec 2nd, 2010 at 23:20 PM

freedom of speech doesnt imply that u can defame anybody and dont respect ur elders..children need to be taught about the indian value of respecting ur teachers...

Amit MishraDec 2nd, 2010 at 23:15 PM

This kind of behaviour from students warrants even more mature response from the teachers.
Scaring the students away will only shift the discussion underground. It will not stop it.
What's needed is that teachers & parents educate them of importance of having an opinion expressed in proper manner

The CenturyDec 2nd, 2010 at 15:56 PM

Freedom of speech isn't about willful deliberate abuse. The parents are at fault too. Does this seem familiar?
- Parents teaching kids to fight back if hit.
- Parents not caring if their kid is unruly or violent
- Parents disrespecting other adults in front of own kids
Kids reflect their parents.

Sakshi JainDec 2nd, 2010 at 15:51 PM

Well as they say..your hand should end where someone's nose begins. In any case, whatsoever happened to the age old discipline and respect?

Rajesh SahariaDec 2nd, 2010 at 14:45 PM

not a bad idea to stop cyber abuse

Sammy DSouza DSouzaDec 2nd, 2010 at 07:57 AM

Freedom of speech, literally, refers to the spoken word. What you are probably referring to goes against protection from 'defamation' - which can be either libel or slander (depending on how the communication occured).
On another note, freedom of speech, like all others comes with a responsibility.

Sankalp AgrawalNov 28th, 2010 at 17:00 PM

what happened to the freedom of speech ???
is that fundamental right is only applicable to adults????????

 
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