by Max Brantley
A cruel comment about a special education student on a Van Buren junior high student's Facebook page got a quick school response, a story in the Fort Smith newspaper reports.
A counter-intuitive thought: Does the Internet, with its permanent record of speech, provide authorities a better handle on addressing bullying and harassment than available in the time when spoken words in schoolyard were the most common form of abuse? At a minimum, there can be no doubt about what was said. The flipside, of course, is how quickly a juvenile barb can go viral and create a storm of meanness directed at one vulnerable child.
Coincidentally, the NY Times today has a feature on a new social networking site, formspring.me, that is said to be a magnet for nasty teen comments.