Information Roundup – 14 December 2008

South-west winds strong enough to generate ridable surf are very rare in Toronto, but today we had just enough for a nice small and clean session.  Felt good.  Nice weekend of family time along with some work and a little reading otherwise.  Here are some links I picked up that you may enjoy.

Evans is about a student who created a web page where she said her teacher was the worst she had ever met and encouraged her classmates to express their “feelings of hatred.”  The site generated a number of responsive comments in the two days it was live.  Three of the comments supported the teacher.  

Despite a fact pattern that might cause one to immediately question the school’s actions, I think Evans has significant potential to provide guidance.  Unlike in Layshock and Blue Mountain, it’s hard to say the student’s harsh, emotion-driven and perhaps unfair criticism is objectively offensive, so the case could lead to some very good discussion about what types of harms individuals ought to tolerate in assuming the special duties of a teacher.  There’s a high level of sensitivity to “cyberbullying” right now, an issue taken-up strongly by our local secondary and post-secondary teacher associations and unions.  This concern is legitimate in my view, but what are the proper boundaries?  In this regard, Evans seems like it has good potential to be a boundary-setting case.

Furthermore, and to be fair to Pembroke Pines Charter High School, Evans could also be an opportunity to invite a discussion on the link between incivility in the school environment and the risk of physical violence.  Many would say that there’s a greater interest at stake in responding to uncivil conduct than hurt feelings alone.

See ya!


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