On September 22nd, 2010, Tyler Clementi, jumped off the George Washington Bridge, dropping to his death after his roommate clandestinely videotaped Tyler having a romantic encounter with another man. The roommate posted the video on the Internet causing embarrassment to Tyler, he was 18 years old at the time, a freshman at Rutgers University (Littler, 2011). Perturbing incidents like these raise the question whether students who commit acts of cyberbullying should be suspended. There are many mixed reactions and beliefs on this issue, with professionals and psychologists taking different stands on it. I do not believe that students who commit acts of cyberbullying should be suspended.
In the information age, bullying has evolved into something completely different from the bullying that took place in schools two decades ago. Most acts of cyberbullying take place off campus, or away from school (Scherer, 2011). If, and only if, the acts of cyber bullying are committed within the school premises and during school hours, such a punishment should be instituted. This is only practical to protect the rule of law. However, this does not mean that the offender should go unpunished.
It is important to understand that suspension from school does not solve the issue of cyberbullying. As a matter of fact, such a punishment would leave the offender with more time in their hands to continue committing these acts. At teenage, most children are considered cool when they get involved in deviant behaviour and get punished for it. Suspension would only serve to encourage cyberbullying, as the offender would, almost always, seek to get back for the punishment suffered for the act of cyberbullying (Scherer, 2011). It is, therefore, crucial that other punishments must sought to address the root cause and risk factors rather than the effects of the deviant and behaviour.
Cyberbullying is not a criminal offense to warrant suspension. Sure it is not ethical or morally upright; however, cyber bullying does not warrant suspension. Other techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) used in handling juvenile delinquency can be more effective. (Bartollas & Schmalleger, 2011)
In conclusion, suspension as punishment for cyberbullying does not solve the problem itself rather than instigate further and worse forms of cyberbullying.
- Bartollas, C., & Schmalleger, F. (2011). Juvenile Delinquency (8th ed.). Prentice Hall.
- Littler, C. (2011, February). 8 Infamous cases of cyber-bullying. Retrieved from Koldcast Blog :
- Scherer, L. S. (2011). Cyberbullying. Farmington Hills: Greenhaven Press.