18-year-old, Chris Latour was expelled from Southbridge High School in Massachusetts after a senior prank turned into an “online” catastrophe. Latour went on a popular Internet message board and gave everyone the access code to a website which was run by his English teacher. Latour stated that the intent was for his peers to go in and post funny photos as a prank.” Instead of posting funny photos, the students posted inappropriate and sexually derogatory comments to her site. Her students harsh words caused their teacher great distress and left her seeking psychological counnseling. Latour stated, “I made the mistake of posting the code, but it wasn’t close to my intention to have what happened, happen.”
Latour has admitted that he was wrong to have shared the private access code, but feels that expulsion is extreme, as he did not personally post any of the negative comments. Latour was suspended for 10 days for cyber bullying and violating the school district’s Internet and bullying policies and was later expelled. Latour also lost his college scholarship as a result of the incident. Latour’s grandmother Vivian added, ” They took everything, everything away from him.” “He can’t go to college, he don’t have a scholarship no more.”
There are so many ways to have a good time when you are a teen, however sharing someone’s private information and hacking into their account is simply not one of them.
Keeping kids safe online is not just about them being the victim, it’s also about our children using Social Media and the Internet wisely. Unfortunately this topic is often overlooked, as we are inundated with stories of the child being the victim of cyber bullying or online predator’s. Teens should understand that their online actions, could lead to life changing “offline” actions.
Bottom-line: When teens decide to engage in inappropriate behavior, there are consequences, and often times “I didn’t mean it” or “it was a mistake,” doesn’t cut it. I encourage parent to share stories like this with their teens as a means of education and awareness. It is not surprising that Latour lost his scholarship. According to a Kaplan Test Prep Survey of 350 admission officers, more than 25 percent of school officials said they had looked up applicants on Facebook or Google. Other admissions counselors say they don’t look up every applicant online, but if they somehow come across an inappropriate post, it could factor into their decision.
Parents and children should also be aware that many states are taking strong actions against cyber bullying in schools. Most recently, North Carolina passed a law making it a crime for students to use digital devices with the intent to intimidate or torment a school employee.
Students must be mindful of their actions, or choose to suffer the consequences for their actions.Join my Blog or Social Media Sites: My blog and social media sites are constantly updated with “real stories,” and practical tips to keep parents and teens aware of what’s really going on. You are not alone, you don’t have to know it all and I am relentless about keeping kids safe Online. There are many ways you can receive update to information from me:
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