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Anatomy of a Palo Alto High School cyberbullying incident

Original post made on Aug 16, 2013

An anonymous gossip blog, known as "PA Gossip Girl," appeared on the social-media website Tumblr without warning on a Sunday evening last January. It contained about a dozen entries featuring sexually explicit rumors (including one mentioning rape) and identifying Paly students by name.

This story contains 1823 words.

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Comments (8)

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2013 at 9:43 am

Why couldn't they track back to who set up the gossip girl blog?! I don't know much about this incident, but from what I have read, at a minimum it was an idiotic distraction, taken at the worst (people being named/slandered/libeled), it sounds like this person should have been prosecuted. If this is how PALY students spend their time, they have wasted lives. Plus they're mean and have no class.

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Posted by call the police
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 16, 2013 at 9:59 am

If you think you have been slandered, call the police and press charges. Otherwise nothing will happen. But remember that the burden of proof for this kinds of crimes is very high.

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Posted by Vicki
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 16, 2013 at 10:14 am

Thank you to the numerous upstanders who acted quickly to shut down the blog and reported it to the administration so they could act swiftly to support the victims. I doubt that the blogger considered that their actions could have resulted in tragic consequences for the victims as reported in many other communities. I'm grateful that many others in our student community did exercise good judgment and care for their classmates.

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Posted by Pants on fire
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm

This was a case of slander, and all of the kids affected by this had every right to sue the offender. It is inconceivable that the originator of these could not be traced; someone clearly did not, could not, or would not do their job.

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Posted by Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 19, 2013 at 7:10 am

Slander is spoken, libel is both cases, it is not slander or libel if the information reported is true.

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2013 at 11:45 am

ok...if it was "true," could you prove that?! What about violation of someone's privacy to post so and so had se* with so and so on a public blog. We all intuitively know this is nasty gossip, getting into the technicalities of legalities may be something else -
What the school administrators can do/school board policies?
What the parents of perp and victim can do
what the police can do

Like this comment
Posted by Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 19, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Gossip is not a crime. Is it really "cyberbullying" to write what actually happened?

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Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 19, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Mom - perhaps this info will help (and sometimes, gossip is a civil action matter, depending on how it's used): "Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles." Web Link

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