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High School Scenario

Your high school Spanish students have been extremely excited about a recent project in your class. Students have been writing scripts and acting out “commercials” in Spanish for imaginary products. You have recorded the commercials on a digital camcorder and uploaded the videos to YouTube. The response has been very positive to these videos, and several students have uploaded them to their personal MySpace pages and blogs to share them with friends. However, one of your students, Olivia, just forwarded you a comment written in response to one of the videos in which she participated and asks for help translating. The comment is in Spanish and contains several sexual references and curse words. When Olivia clicks on the commenter's username to find out more about the person, she sees videos with sexual content.

What do you tell your students about the comment and what Olivia saw, and how do you advise them to respond?

Advice To Students

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Wow! Talk about teachable moments!! It can be a great experience to learn from. This situation is an opportunity to have a discussion with the class (without using names and showing the specific example). Here are a couple ideas that we had on how to handle the situation:



  1. Talk to the student, Olivia. Ask if she is alright and if she has any questions about the comments and video that she was exposed to. Ask her permission to discuss the comment with the class, as a learning experience, without mentioning who it happened to.
  2. Ask the student to write out exactly what happened and make a copy of the statement, signed and dated by the student
  3. The teacher should advise the student not to respond to the post at all.
  4. Remind students that if they receive an email from someone they don't know or recognize, they should not open it. They should never click on the message, the subject line, the sender name, or any link in the message. Immediately mark it as spam and send it to a junk mail folder. Keep the message or forward it to an adult in case matters escalate or an investigation occurs.
  5. Advise student to refrain from posting school work to personal sites. Remind them that if they post outside of the class, they are responsible for any consequence.
  6. Teacher should advise all students to do a Google search for their name, to see what comes up so they are aware and can fix breaches of confidence immediately.
  7. Teacher may suggest not bringing the incident up again, unless Olivia chooses to discuss it.
  8. Teacher could use the scenario anonymously in future years to prevent a recurrence, explain to the class what not to do- don't post school work to personal sites.
  9. Explain to students what to do ahead of time for any possible scenario. Students react more favorably if they have had the opportunity to plan out a response to undesirable incidents.
  10. As a teacher, you could cite statistics about online sexual harassment, explain that this example fits into that category and that it is a crime, so that all students are aware of the severity of the situation.
  11. You could also cite laws that explain the punishment for such criminal acts, so students have an understanding of how the scenario should play out without the teacher being specific about details.



Advice for teacher:

  1. Inform the YouTube website administrators. We believe that they will take the video off.
  2. Assuming the video itself isn't inappropriate, remove the comment made on the video, then change comment settings to be under moderation before publishing or even turn comments off.
  3. Inform YouTube because of inappropriate comment or spam bots.
  4. Remove the comment(s) and possibly the video from the YouTube website.
  5. Inform your school administration. If administration decides to, the teacher may have to remove all videos each one of his/her classes from the YouTube website.
  6. If all videos were pulled down because of one rude comment, the teacher should fight to defend the video, its content, and its right to belong online. The teacher should defend his/her reaction with students, the teachable moment, the removal of the comment and change in comment settings, the report to YouTube, and stress that students should report any further issues to the teacher immediately.
  7. Teacher may choose to draft a letter or email to the parents of each student in his/her class explaining the situation, how it is being handled now, and plans to prevent future occurrences like this one from happening.
  8. Review internet safety content and resource websites with the students – include this information with the communication to the parents. Schools and parents need to take advantage of the opportunity to dialogue with students and build an online safety awareness to remind the students about safe, ethical, and secure Internet use.
  9. Report the incident immediately to the guidance counselor of Student Assistance Team if it's deemed a sexual harassment issue or an Internet predator issue. Once the matter is in the guidance counselor's hands he/she should know proper protocol and begin to follow it immediately.
  10. Create a new policy stating if students post school work to any personal sites, a disclaimer must be posted and any consequences are handled outside the school.
  11. The teacher could advise the student not to respond at all, but may ask for clarification from experts as to who should respond.
  12. Contact Police or FBI to report sexual harassment charges to a minor.
  13. Teacher should make a courtesy call to parents/child as a follow-up to express concern and to reassure parents.
  14. Teacher may also want to contact his/her union rep to find out proper protocol for the situation and to report the incident just in case.

Resources:



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Digital Citizenship in Schools
Mike Ribble and Gerald Bailey structure the book around `nine elements of digital citizenship: digital access, digital commerce, communication, literacy, etiquette, law, rights and responsibilities, health and wellness, and digital security.
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Lenhart, A., Madden, M. Smith, A., Purcell, K., Zickuhr, K. Rainie, L.,Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Teens-and-social-media.aspx
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Rooney, J., The Student’s Guide To Staying Safe Online, Retrieved from http://edudemic.com/2011/10/education-cybersecurity/
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Marklein, M. Survey: Educators lack training to teach online safety. Retrieved from http://content.usatoday.com/topics/reporter/Mary+Beth+Marklein

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Walker, T. Who’s Responsible for Teaching Online Safety?. Retrieved from http://neatoday.org/2011/05/31/whos-responsible-for-teaching-online-safety/


clip art Image:
"Hand reaching out of computer monitor reaching for credit cards" Red Circle Images RMRM Rights Managed (can I use this, not sure?)