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Old 08-31-2011, 06:03 PM   #256
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New York Times, Aug. 30
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Under a new state law in New Jersey, lunch-line bullies in the East Hanover schools can be reported to the police by their classmates this fall through anonymous tips to the Crimestoppers hot line. In Elizabeth, children, including kindergartners, will spend six class periods learning, among other things, the difference between telling and tattling. And at North Hunterdon High School, students will be told that there is no such thing as an innocent bystander when it comes to bullying: if they see it, they have a responsibility to try to stop it.

But while many parents and educators welcome the efforts to curb bullying both on campus and online, some superintendents and school board members across New Jersey say the new law, which takes effect Sept. 1, reaches much too far, and complain that they have been given no additional resources to meet its mandates. The law, known as the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, is considered the toughest legislation against bullying in the nation. Propelled by public outcry over the suicide of a Rutgers University freshman, Tyler Clementi, nearly a year ago, it demands that all public schools adopt comprehensive antibullying policies (there are 18 pages of “required components”), increase staff training and adhere to tight deadlines for reporting episodes. Each school must designate an antibullying specialist to investigate complaints; each district must, in turn, have an antibullying coordinator; and the State Education Department will evaluate every effort, posting grades on its Web site. Superintendents said that educators who failed to comply could lose their licenses.

“I think this has gone well overboard,” Richard G. Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, said. “Now we have to police the community 24 hours a day. Where are the people and the resources to do this?”
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In most cases, schools are tapping guidance counselors and social workers as the new antibullying specialists, raising questions of whether they have the time or experience to look into every complaint of harassment or intimidation and write the detailed reports required. Some administrators are also worried that making schools legally responsible for bullying on a wider scale will lead to more complaints and open the door to lawsuits from students and parents dissatisfied with the outcome. But supporters of the law say that schools need to do more as conflicts spread from cafeterias and corridors to social media sites, magnifying the effects and making them much harder to shut down.

...“It’s not the traditional bullying: the big kid in the schoolyard saying, ‘You’re going to do what I say,’ ” Richard Bergacs, an assistant principal at North Hunterdon High, said. Dr. Bergacs, who investigates half a dozen complaints of bullying each month, said most involved both comments on the Internet and face-to-face confrontations on campus. “It’s gossip, innuendo, rumors—and people getting mad about it,” he said.

...The law also requires districts to appoint a safety team at each school, made up of teachers, staff members and parents, to review complaints. It orders principals to begin an investigation within one school day of a bullying episode, and superintendents to provide reports to Trenton twice a year detailing all episodes.

...In the East Hanover district, the new partnership with Crimestoppers, a program of the Morris County sheriff’s office, is intended to make reporting easier, but it also ups the ante by involving law enforcement rather than resolving issues in the principal’s office. Crimestoppers will accept anonymous text messages, calls or tips to its Web site, then forward the information to school and local police officials.

...In Elizabeth, antibullying efforts will start in the classroom, with a series of posters and programs, including role-playing exercises. In one lesson, students will study pictures of children’s faces and talk about the emotions expressed (annoyance, disappointment), while in another, they will practice saying phrases like “I am angry.” “The whole push is to incorporate the antibullying process into the culture,” Lucila Hernandez, a school psychologist, said. “We’re empowering children to use the term ‘bullying’ and to speak up for themselves and for others.”

...But [Westfield Superintendent Margaret] Dolan cautioned that an unintended consequence of the new law could be that students, or their parents, will find it easier to label minor squabbles bullying than to find ways to work out their differences. “Kids have to learn to deal with conflict,” she said. “What a shame if they don’t know how to effectively interact with their peers when they have a disagreement.”
I have some mixed feelings about the sweeping scope of this law, particularly given the nature of the incident which occasioned it--is anti-gay bullying, happening as it does against the backdrop of a society in which homosexuality remains widely and often openly stigmatized at all levels, really comparable to "gossip, innuendo, rumors—and people getting mad about it"? Is a Crimestoppers hotline how you'd want your kid to respond to bullying s/he feels s/he saw or experienced at school? Is there a risk of cultivating something more like entitlement in certain children, when you meant to cultivate empowerment?
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:37 PM   #257
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I hope this sets a precedent. People really need to know they can't do things like that and get away with it. It is the first ever conviction for a hate crime based on invasion of privacy.

(Reuters) - A former Rutgers University student who used a computer webcam to spy on a sexual tryst of his roommate, who later committed suicide, was found guilty of hate crimes on Friday in a case that put a national spotlight on gay bullying.

Dharun Ravi, 20, faces 10 years in prison on the most serious charge of bias intimidation against Tyler Clementi, 18, who committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge three days after learning his gay encounter was seen by webcam.

Ravi, who invited others to watch the feed from the camera mounted on top of his computer, was not charged with causing Clementi's death.

Ravi, an Indian citizen who has lived most of his life in the United States, will be sentenced on May 21 and remains free on $25,000 bail after surrendering his passport. He faces possible deportation.

Some legal experts said the case elevated the abuse of social media from a common prank, as Ravi's lawyer argued, to criminal behavior.

"It's very important that the jury returned a guilty verdict on the bias crime. It sends a message and it has a deterrent effect on what kids do. It's really important to say, we're not tolerating this," said Susan Abraham, a professor at New York Law School.

Others called the verdict overreaching.

"It illustrates the dysfunction of hate crime laws that were passed with the idea that they would strike out against hate groups and neo-Nazi groups, and instead end up being used in these one-off kind of cases, where immature confused young people act in some way that evidences prejudice," said James Jacobs, a professor at New York University School of Law. Ravi was convicted for using the webcam to watch Clementi's dorm room encounter with a 30-year-old man, identified only as M.B., on September 19, 2010, and attempting to do the same when M.B. returned to the room on September 21, 2010, although he was thwarted when Clementi unplugged the computer.

He was found guilty of encouraging others to watch by accessing the webcam from their own computers, by talking to them in person, sending Internet instant messages and posting notes on his Twitter page including "Roommate asked for room till midnight. Went into Molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."

GUILTY OF HATE CRIME

After 12 hours of deliberations over three days, the jury convicted Ravi on all 15 counts, including two counts of bias intimidation based on sexual orientation, which is a hate crime, invasion of privacy and tampering with evidence and witnesses.

Ravi covered his mouth with his hand and his eyes widened as the verdict was read in a courtroom in Middlesex County, New Jersey.

Juror Bruno Ferreira said it was "very difficult" to reach the guilty verdicts on the hate crime counts, which were tied to Ravi's efforts to twice use the webcam to spy on Clementi's with M.B.

"Thinking about it not being done once, being done twice, not just on one day," was what convinced the seven-woman, five-man panel, Ferreira said.

Prosecutor Julia McClure said she will consult the Clementi family and M.B. to determine what sentence she will ask Judge Glenn Berman to impose.

Victim statements are among the most important factors the judge will consider, legal experts say. "I wouldn't be surprised if the judge gave him a sentence of a year in jail, or six months or something like that. Now the symbolic point is made," Jacobs said.

Clementi's family in March 2011, before a grand jury indictment elevated the incident to a hate crime, released a statement saying Ravi should not receive "harsh punishment."

After the verdict, Tyler's father Joe Clementi, at a news conference with his wife and son James, who is gay, said, "The trial was painful for us, as it would be for any parent who must sit through and listen to people talk about bad things that were done to their child."

Clementi's death came amid a spate of gay teen suicides nationwide, triggering President Barack Obama to condemn bullying, speeding passage of New Jersey's anti-bullying law and prompting Rutgers to offer "gender-neutral housing," which gives students more options when it comes to choosing a roommate.

Going to trial was a gamble for Ravi, who turned down the prosecutor's offer of a plea deal recommending probation, community service and the promise to help him avoid deportation.

A deportation decision will be made by a U.S. immigration judge after Ravi completes his criminal sentence.
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:49 PM   #258
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Old 03-16-2012, 07:06 PM   #259
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I hope wherever Tyler Clementi is now, he feels a sense of justice.
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Old 03-17-2012, 10:01 AM   #260
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I remember how much this bothered me when it first happened. I am glad that justice has been served. Even if the sentence does end up being a shorter one, the connviction brings to light just how serious this type of thing is.
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Old 03-17-2012, 11:49 AM   #261
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Wow, what a bonehead this guy was for not taking that extremely generous plea deal. Such arrogance.
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Old 03-17-2012, 04:22 PM   #262
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I must be the only one disturbed by this conviction, particularly the hate crime aspect of it. I think this kid is an entitled asshole, not really a bigot.
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Old 03-17-2012, 05:15 PM   #263
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I have mixed feelings about some aspects of the 4 hate crime (bias intimidation) convictions. I find it very troubling that New Jersey's hate crimes law permits convictions based merely on establishing that the victim "reasonably" perceived the perpetrator to have targeted him/her based on bias, as opposed to convincing the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that bias was indeed the basis for the perpetrator's actions. That seems unconstitutional to me, and plays into one of my deepest reservations about hate crimes laws (which I generally support): do we risk creating the very situation these laws mean to address--the broader community tensions resulting from these kinds of crimes--by giving members of protected groups a reason to feel they're "owed" a hate crimes conviction simply because they perceive a crime to be an intentional attack on their protected status? And that "reasonable perception" criterion was the basis for 2 of the 4 hate crimes charges against Ravi. (In all 4 cases, the jury rejected the prosecution's argument that "M.B." was also targeted.) The other 2 charges, which pertained to the second incident (the planned "viewing party" that never happened), were based both on what Clementi might "reasonably" have perceived and on the jury's finding that Ravi's actions really were based on antigay bias on that occasion.

I think Ravi's family's vehement rejection of the plea deal was foolish, and that his lawyer should've pressed the matter harder with them (the lawyer's own statements suggested he didn't press much once he saw how opposed they were), but I don't know whether it was necessarily "arrogance." Based on the evidence presented at trial, I think it's likely Dharun Ravi viewed his own mindset during that second incident as a poor judgment call to enhance his own rep by (attempting and/or intending to) make a titillating spectacle of his roommate for his buddies, rather than a conscious "I'm gonna get back at you for being a f- by showing the world what a f- you are"--the latter being much closer to how we tend to assume a "hate crime" perpetrator must think. But of course you could counter there isn't much meaningful difference between the two.
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Old 03-18-2012, 12:16 AM   #264
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considering a friend-of-a-friend was just bashed (called him "faggot," shattered his jaw) in a legit hate crime on the streets of DC just a few days ago, i have a tough time putting Ravi in that same category. he seems like a jerk, motivated by Tyler's sexual orientation (but it well could have been anything else, like being "poor," which Ravi also didn't like, there's an utterly indispensable New Yorker article here), but it seems to degrade the idea of a hate crime by calling things like this evidence of hate/bias.
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:51 PM   #265
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^ Yeah that New Yorker article was excellent; I've followed this case pretty closely, and it's hands-down the best article I've seen on it.
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I think this kid is an entitled asshole, not really a bigot.
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it seems to degrade the idea of a hate crime by calling things like this evidence of hate/bias.
So is that an inevitable problem inherent in the nature of hate crimes legislation? or a problem of hate crime charges not being limited to certain crime types when they perhaps should be? or a problem of jurors not understanding (they needed quite a bit of advising from the judge here) what exactly it means to say a crime was "based on" bias? or just that NJ's statute is lousily written (the judge himself said as much)? or something else?
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Old 03-18-2012, 09:10 PM   #266
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Problem with hate crimes in general. They are a slippery ilk.

My guess is that Ravi may have done the same thing if Tyler had been hooking up (note: there was no actual sex) with, say, a 40-year old 300lb woman.
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Old 03-18-2012, 11:36 PM   #267
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I suspect you may be right about that, Irvine.

Something that struck me from that New Yorker article was the mention of this as Ravi's password:

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“DHARUNISAWESOME”
That probably says a whole lot about the guy right there. Cori mentioned his arrogance in not taking that plea deal (and indeed, he's an idiot for not going with it), and I think things like that are further proof of just how cocky this guy apparently is/was.

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(In witness statements taken for the Clementi case, nobody has recalled Ravi being contemptuous of gay people.) If this helps protect him from the charge of extreme prejudice, he might still be accused of lacking empathy: there’s no sign that he was inhibited by the fear that he might cause his roommate embarrassment, or annoyance, by discussing him on Facebook and Twitter.
Exactly. And it seems to me he's more the type who doesn't come out and say such nasty things to the people he's having problems with, rather, he sneaks around behind their back saying them instead. Which would explain witnesses not being able to recall any instances of him being mean towards gay people-not in public, face-to-face conversation, perhaps, he wasn't. To say nothing of the strange obsession Ravi seemed to have with Clementi-that's an awful lot of investigating and talking he was doing there in regards to the guy. It sounds like they hardly ever had any sort of interaction with each other, so I don't get why Ravi made such a big deal about him. And the "class status" stuff is just oh so charming .

The discussion outlined between him and those friends of his online truly makes me ill. They're all complete and total jerks (and that's a polite description, quite frankly). It's like I said at the very start of this article-everyone involved in this mess seriously really needed to find something MUCH more worthwhile to do with the free time they had. And I don't think they get at all just how horrible their attitudes came across, to Clementi or anyone else with a sense of decency. There's joking, and then there's just being obnoxious and rude for no reason at all.

Hopefully, with Ravi's time ahead of him in jail, he'll start reflecting deeply on that.

Also, Formspring sounds like a fountain of intelligence and reasonable conversation! Seriously, I just will never understand how some people can be so callous and cruel.

I felt like crying by the end of that New Yorker article. Fascinating, disturbing, and very powerful. Everyone really should read it.
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:09 AM   #268
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After reading what yolland and Irvine had to say about the hate crime aspect, I'd back down from the "arrogant" comment. Maybe the family/attorneys felt that while he'd fucked up, the jury wouldn't agree that it was a hate crime.

"Entitled asshole" sums it up nicely enough.
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Old 03-19-2012, 02:50 AM   #269
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Problem with hate crimes in general. They are a slippery ilk.

My guess is that Ravi may have done the same thing if Tyler had been hooking up (note: there was no actual sex) with, say, a 40-year old 300lb woman.
This.

This was not an example of a kid who hated gays. This was an example of a kid who liked to talk about things that got him attention from his peers. Oh, look at my quiet, shy, gay roommate all of a sudden wanting the room to hook up with an older gay guy!

I honestly feel bad that he's going to jail for 10 years for a hate crime. That seems excessive for what happened. What he did was, essentially, place his social status above the privacy of someone else. Obviously he knew he did something wrong, but 10 years for a hate crime just does not feel right here, to me.

I'd be interested to know what was in the suicide note. Not necessarily the specifics, but the tone and the targets of his letter. It seems like this was sort of impulsive and took a lot of people by surprise, especially considering the fact that he had applied for a room change and his RA had been receptive to it.

I think I am going to read that New Yorker article again. It's incredible reporting and feels like it leaves almost nothing out.
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:07 AM   #270
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Sounds like Ravi will only serve 6-12 months, not 10 years.
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