Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Save the cheerleader, save the world?

Interesting issues emerge from this case in Texas. A junior high school cheerleader was shoved out of the shower at a sleepover and photographed (by some accounts, only her blurry back was visible in the picture). The photo was forwarded to classmates and some of them looked at it in school. The school suspended several students, including the girl who took the photo, even though the incident took place off school grounds.

- What remedy, if any, should the cheerleader have? Has she actually been injured? Does it matter that there was a photo and that she was undressed? Wouldn't it have been as bad or worse if they had gone all Carrie on her and then recounted the tale of their tampon bombardment to all their classmates? What if they had taken a photo of her like this instead or passed around a note in which she admitted to an embarrassing crush or secret?

- What should be done to the offenders, if anything? Distribution of nude images of minors, even by other minors, tends to bring down the long arm of the law.

- Is it appropriate for the school to punish students for conduct that occurs off-campus? If yes, where's the logical stopping point? What can't a school punish minors for?

Taking the picture and passing it around was a horrible thing to do, but if principals start suspending middle schoolers for acting like little bitches they won't have any students left.
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