A bunch of eighth graders in a “wealthy Philadelphia suburb” recently targeted teachers with an extreme online harassment campaign that The New York Times reported was “the first known group TikTok attack of its kind by middle schoolers on their teachers in the United States.”

According to The Times, the Great Valley Middle School students created at least 22 fake accounts impersonating about 20 teachers in offensive ways. The fake accounts portrayed long-time, dedicated teachers sharing “pedophilia innuendo, racist memes,” and homophobic posts, as well as posts fabricating “sexual hookups among teachers.”

  • Delusional@lemmy.world
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    6 days ago

    Wow whaddya know. Snotty stuck up rich kids weren’t taught morals by their parents who also probably don’t have any.

  • Podunk@lemmy.world
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    5 days ago

    This just in: “kids are assholes, but this is the first time they have been assholes in this manner”

    Some of yall have clearly never been around teenagers. They are ruthless no matter how well you raise them, and their groupthink is capable of moving literal mountains if directed in the right direction.

  • psychothumbs@lemmy.world
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    6 days ago

    So kids are joking around with each other online and the school is monitoring their accounts and punishing them for mean jokes about teachers? Leave these kids alone

          • stoly@lemmy.world
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            5 days ago

            I speak that really from experience. My Reddit account (which I abandoned) is roughly 17 now. Was on other platforms prior.

            You can usually tell when you’ve got a teen when they become libertarian and angry about why anyone should care about something edgy being done. The whole “it was just a prank, bro” mindset.

            • Triasha@lemmy.world
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              4 days ago

              Maybe we misunderstood each other. I meant the children should not be on the internet.

              If they are going to do hurtful crap like that they should not be allowed to have smart phones.

              • stoly@lemmy.world
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                4 days ago

                Ah Gotcha. I was commenting specifically on the sorts of behaviors i have seen young teens engage in online that shows (not in a bad way, just reveals) that they are young teens.

      • psychothumbs@lemmy.world
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        6 days ago

        Again, how is it harassment if it’s just jokes these kids are passing around between each other that are only discoverable by snooping in them?

          • psychothumbs@lemmy.world
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            4 days ago

            This was impersonation on the level of “hey look at me, I’m funkless_eck, I’m a pedophile! dur dur dur” not some attempt to make it seem like those teachers were actually pedophiles.

              • psychothumbs@lemmy.world
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                4 days ago

                Yeah I’d say it’s equivalent to any other inappropriate joke a kid might tell - a moment for a conversation but not anything too serious.

          • psychothumbs@lemmy.world
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            4 days ago

            I mean everyone gets that it was in fact a joke right? What are we talking about here? People are trying to make it sound like the kids were harassing these teachers or trying to trick people into thinking they were pedophiles as opposed to passing around dumb memes about them between each other.

        • Triasha@lemmy.world
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          5 days ago

          Impersonating someone to suggest sexual relationships threatens their marriage or partnership.

          Implying pedofilia threatens their freedom and all their relationships.

          This isn’t telling jokes at the lunch table, it’s shouting them in a public forum. Tik Tok is no different than putting up a billboard or running an ad spot on television.

          • psychothumbs@lemmy.world
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            4 days ago

            I’d say it’s a lot more like the lunch table, or even like a table at a restaurant off-campus. These kids were not directing these jokes at anyone but each other, but were in a semi-public place where they could be overheard. It’s basically equivalent to a teacher walking by a table full of students making jokes about their teachers by pedophiles and getting them in trouble after overhearing.

  • dank@lemmy.today
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    7 days ago

    Adults are wildly overreacting to some kids being jerks. Part of being an adult is tolerating other people saying things you don’t like. American schools are authoritarian nightmares.

  • TommySoda@lemmy.world
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    7 days ago

    If my kids did that I’d be perfectly fine with them getting kicked out of school or even if the teachers wanted to press charges. I know teachers can be shitty but this is completely uncalled for unless they were actually doing those things

    • Todd Bonzalez@lemm.ee
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      7 days ago

      If my kids did that I’d be perfectly fine with them getting kicked out of school or even if the teachers wanted to press charges.

      Just a reminder that these are middle schoolers, if it were your kid, and a teacher decided to sue, it would be you getting sued for the behavior of a child you didn’t raise correctly.

      So don’t try to take the high road here. If your kid did something like this, it would be because you were a shitty parent who didn’t teach them basic right and wrong.

      “I’d let the state punish them on my behalf” is just revealing the issue: you expect other people to raise your kids.

      • lmaydev@lemmy.world
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        7 days ago

        Absolutely not correct at all I’m afraid.

        People seem to think we have the ability to control our kids to a huge degree.

        Plenty of children with amazing, loving upbringings turn into garbage people. And some of the nicest most kind people I know were raised by abusive scum.

        Plus teenage years are difficult for most kids as they find their place in the world and their friends have almost as much influence as parents at that time.

        You also can’t know what teenagers are doing all the time. Especially at school.

        Furthermore some people seem to just be born assholes and it doesn’t matter how you raise them.

        I’m going to assume you don’t have teenagers. They can change into a different person overnight once the hormones kick in.

        • buddascrayon@lemmy.world
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          7 days ago

          Yeah, it’s one of those things a parent can’t control, undue influences. Not just media, but other students and even adults who find their way into a child’s life and attempt to influence them.

        • Gigasser@lemmy.world
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          5 days ago

          I dislike the nature argument since it’s often used to entirely sidestep the nurture argument. I think that maybe it might be better as a society to restrict children(not legally) from, or atleast reduce their usage of, social networking and social media sites, atleast until their teens.

      • Carrolade@lemmy.world
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        7 days ago

        The idea that parents actually have or even should have complete control over their kids is laughable. Did you perfectly obey all of your parents wishes while you were young, even when they were not watching?

        • LordGimp@lemm.ee
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          7 days ago

          He’s not talking about obedience, he’s talking about liability. There’s a difference between raising your kid to take out the garbage on command and raising them to be functional people. These parents failed that second aspect. And yes, they are in fact responsible for letting their little sociopaths out of the house.

          • Carrolade@lemmy.world
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            7 days ago

            No, a child that makes a mistake is still potentially functional. Peer pressure is a hell of a drug.

            • LordGimp@lemm.ee
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              7 days ago

              This isn’t 2+2=5. It’s not forgetting to pay for your groceries one time. It’s not even tying your shoe laces in a knot instead of a nice bow. Those are mistakes.

              This is a group of kids setting out to humiliate and potentially incriminate teachers at their school for apparently no good goddamn reason according to this article. This is a group of sociopaths failed by their parents. Yes, the children should be punished. The parents should also be punished. Idk how that punishment should go, but IMHO it should involve mandatory community service at a soup kitchen every weekend for a year or two.

              • intensely_human@lemm.ee
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                6 days ago

                Should the teachers be punished as well, given the state’s shared role in raising kids and inculcating them with values?

                • LordGimp@lemm.ee
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                  6 days ago

                  Clearly they were already punished, and inappropriately so. Nobody “taught” the students to act like little sociopaths in the same way nobody “teaches” your puppy to shit on the floor. This is, in fact, the direct result of a lacking education. This education is not taught in schools outside maybe pre-k, as children are expected to act civilly in a classroom, let alone middle schoolers.

              • Carrolade@lemmy.world
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                7 days ago

                No, even good kids are capable of making much more severe mistakes depending on their environment. To really judge we’d have to go through their social media exposure whatever trends/cultures were going around the school at the time.

                Don’t forget, this is America where a former President and current candidate supported Qanon. People, especially kids, are vulnerable to being misled.

                • ChronosTriggerWarning@lemmy.world
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                  7 days ago

                  People, especially kids, are vulnerable to being misled.

                  And this is exactly the time to teach them that this is not acceptable behavior. Sometimes, the best lessons in life are when you learn what to NOT do.

                • WindyRebel@lemmy.world
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                  6 days ago

                  Reading some of these responses, I swear these people are armchair parents. There’s an entire science of nature vs nurture. Nurture also includes peers and group acceptance and even the best of kids sometimes do horrible, shitty, stupid things for nurture of their peers.

                  It’s like they do not want to entertain that this happens. Head. In. The. Sand.

                  Source: Am parent with a good kid who is learning to push boundaries, entering the teen years soon, and sometimes does stupid shit even when I taught him better. I was also the good kid that did stupid fucking shit every once in a while despite having parents who taught me better/right v wrong.

          • intensely_human@lemm.ee
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            6 days ago

            This attack has nothing to do with being “functional people”.

            I am not much of a functional person — can’t kept a job, terrible social life, etc — and I would never run this kind of attack on a person let alone join a group to do it en masse.

            Being functional has nothing to do with this thing. This is about evil.

            • LordGimp@lemm.ee
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              6 days ago

              Basic empathy is a requirement of being a functional person.

              Not a job, not forcing yourself to be around other people, not owning a house, none of that shit.

              You are valid so long as you recognize that every person matters. Anything less is to be inhuman.

              Like coughcoughisraelcoughcough

        • GBU_28@lemm.ee
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          7 days ago

          To extend the point from above: their tech is your property.

          If they do things online with outside hardware you can’t access, then you’ve done what you can.

    • macniel@feddit.org
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      7 days ago

      I know teachers can be shitty but this is completely uncalled for unless they were actually doing those things

      Because the ends justify the means?

      • redisdead@lemmy.world
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        7 days ago

        Vigilante justice is faster and more.efficient than whatever corrupt thing y’all got going on.

        • macniel@feddit.org
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          7 days ago

          So it’s fine if this smear campaign/harassment and character assassination hits the wrong guy?

          • redisdead@lemmy.world
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            7 days ago

            Then you go and punish the people doing it. Idk what’s hard to understand.

            Swift justice will always be better than whatever slow and corrupt shut y’all got going on.

      • Quacksalber@sh.itjust.works
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        7 days ago

        What do you mean with your question? What those students did is slander and mobbing. Those are prosecutable offenses.

        • Todd Bonzalez@lemm.ee
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          7 days ago

          slander and mobbing. Those are prosecutable offenses.

          No they aren’t. Slander is a civil tort (not criminal / not prosecutable), and “Mobbing” isn’t even a legal term, but to the best of my understanding is synonymous with “assembling”, which is constitutionally protected.

          At worst, a student could be sued by a teacher, and these are middle schoolers, so it would be the parents being sued.

          • DandomRude@lemmy.world
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            7 days ago

            I think “assembling” in this context refers to collecting personal information about someone with the intend to steal someones identity. So yes, I guess the teachers could maybe sue for identity theft or online impersonation as well even if creating a fake social media profile for someone without their knowledge in itself does not seem to be a crime on a federal level. There seem to be some state laws concerning this tho - in Texas for example that can be a felony if I get this right. But also yes, that should be the parents’ problem, since minors are usually not criminally liable.

            • Todd Bonzalez@lemm.ee
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              7 days ago

              Identity theft is really only limited to contract law, not social impersonation. This would still be libel / slander.

              • DandomRude@lemmy.world
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                7 days ago

                If so the kids might just got lucky in that regard. There seems to be or at least there was a bill in Pennsylvania that would make online impersonation a crime with a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a 5000$ fine. I assume that this story is likely to fuel the discussion about this bill again, if it has not already been enacted into law yet.

          • intensely_human@lemm.ee
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            6 days ago

            Man they bringin RICO against these kids. “Assembling”. Mobbing someone means attacking them as a group. One of the kids is gonna flip and he’s gonna go life the rest of his life in Timbuktu.

        • macniel@feddit.org
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          7 days ago

          I meant that comment in regard to

          I know teachers can be shitty but this is completely uncalled for unless they were actually doing those things

          • idiomaddict@feddit.de
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            7 days ago

            If they actually did those things, it wouldn’t be slander.

            If I were to guess, I’d take it as “unless the kids knew/suspected with good reason they were doing those things”, because that’s how I would feel about it at least. I would still want to talk to them about appropriate responses and make sure they knew they could trust me, but kids don’t always know how to bring up adults’ misbehavior.

            If it’s just a fluke, that would feel like an ends justifying the means situation.

            • Flying Squid@lemmy.world
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              It would be harassment whether or not it’s true, so the teachers would still have reason to sue.

              I just hope something happens with their parents too, because kids who do things like this tend to have shitty parents.

              • idiomaddict@feddit.de
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                7 days ago

                I’d like to first of all say that I don’t see any reason to believe the teachers did this. I hope the police proceed under that assumption unless evidence leading otherwise turns up. My original comment was about why someone might not want their children punished as severely, if the teachers did in fact do these things to their students, but I don’t think it’s likely (and really hope it’s not the case).

                It would be harassment whether or not it’s true, so the teachers would still have reason to sue.

                That’s true, but it’s probably not a huge concern. Middle schoolers under that kind of pressure will react without thought to consequences and if their most grievous response is to harass their abusers, most courts would probably recognize that. I would still explain to them that they can trust me and that I’ll believe them if they tell me something like this in the future, before it gets to this point.

                I just hope something happens with their parents too, because kids who do things like this tend to have shitty parents.

                Agreed.