2 teens attempt suicide after Facebook bullying

By
March 1, 2012 19:01

Girls aged 13, 14 attempt to drown themselves after classmates bullied them on social networking site Facebook.

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Facebook logo 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Two teenage girls tried to drown themselves in stormy seas off the coast of Ashdod on Wednesday night, in a botched suicide attempt reportedly brought on by abuse they suffered from classmates on Facebook.

The two girls, aged 13 and 14, were found unconscious floating in shallow waters by a bystander. The bystander called police who rushed the girls to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, where they told police of ongoing abuse they suffered on the social networking site.

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One of the girls was released from the hospital on Thursday while the other remained hospitalized with minor injuries from exposure.

According to an Education Ministry regulation enacted in December 2011, teachers are not allowed to be “friends” on Facebook with any of their pupils, a fact that some critics say may have prevented teachers from witnessing the alleged online abuse.

In a position paper that described the regulations for Internet usage for faculty inside and outside of schools, the ministry said that the interactions that take place on Facebook “blur the border between private and professional.”

In explaining the ban on Facebook connections between students and teachers, the position paper said that imprudent use of the social networking site can lead “to violations of privacy, abuse of the freedom of expression, and blurring of the professional and private.”

In addition, the guidelines call for teachers to educate students about the positive and negative influence of websites like Facebook.

The Education Ministry said on Thursday that faculty provided emotional counseling to both of the two students. In addition they said the girls met with a counselor provided by the school and that the school met with and offered treatment to the students accused of bullying them as well.

The ministry also said that it was the students’ teacher who reported to police that the students had expressed suicidal sentiments.


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