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(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
One of the girls was released from the hospital on
Thursday while the other remained hospitalized with minor injuries from
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
In addition, the guidelines call for teachers to educate
students about the positive and negative influence of websites like
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
The ministry also said that it was the students’ teacher who
reported to police that the students had expressed suicidal sentiments.