Playground bullies never had it so easy.
If a student wants to be a punk, even to take things up a notch to sexually demeaning taunts, technology is a ready, willing conspirator.
A family has been dealing with that reality for months now at an area high school. Anonymous texts have been sent to a 16-year-old girl and a few of her girlfriends. The students are all sophomores, as are the presumed male student attackers.
It all started out relatively innocently, or so this young lady thought when the anonymous texts started last fall. Teenage stuff. “So-and-so likes you” sort of texts. Enticing enough that the girl said she played along, texting back.
But whoever was sending the texts never wanted to meet face to face, and the boys mentioned in the texts weren’t really paying any attention to her at school. She soon realized that she’d been had. It was a hoax. But the texts didn’t stop. And they escalated in tone.
The writer began claiming the young girl was sexually easy, stupid and desperately chasing boys, all through the usual crude terms that the simpleminded unleash on women. Apps allow people to text anonymously with no trace. It’s an easy but sick game to play.
Remember, this is a 16-year-old girl. She’s new to the school this year, having moved from out of state.
The girl’s father is at a loss for a next step. That’s how columnists get called. His daughter had already appealed to the school administrators and he went to local law enforcement. Sheriff’s detectives deemed the number untraceable.
“She’s in that mode where she feels like everybody is talking about her and looking at her,” he said. “As a parent you want to do something, but what do you do?”
He doesn’t want to pull her out of the school. His daughter vacillates between wanting to stand her ground and admitting that she can’t concentrate in class, cries easily and is getting depressed.
Last week, school administrators sat down the girls and the boys suspected of being involved. Her father said it became a he-said, she-said draw. The boys denied it.
No texts arrived for several days, then it started up again. “We won” and other texts that seem to confirm the school had the right students in the office that day. The tone of the more recent texts is that of an entitled misfit. Administrators counseled the girls to keep blocking numbers.
Makes you wonder where “zero tolerance” can meet adequate discipline.