Superintendent responds to cyberbullying


By Sammi Silber, Observations Editor

MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr started a campaign against cyberbullying on Dec. 13, when he published an open letter to parents about cyberbullying titled “Cyber Civility.” However, Joshua Starr immaturely started a campaign primarily because he claimed was “cyberbullied.”

After snow days on Dec. 9 and 10, Joshua Starr took to the MCPS webpage, where he wrote an open letter to parents claiming how he had been cyberbullied by students over the social networking website, Twitter.

According to Starr’s open letter to parents regarding the incident, Starr explains how students “tweeted” at him, begging him to close schools so that they could get an extra day to relax or work on homework they did not complete. However, he found some of these tweets offensive.

Many CHS students access Twitter each day, taking to the website to share their thoughts. Starr’s claims are somewhat immature, since he claims that students that are well younger than him are bullying him. The tweets may be disrespectful to a degree, however, Starr should handle the situation in a more sophisticated, mature manner instead of claiming he was bullied.

A social networking site should not be a place where the head of schools should look at student’s personal profiles and be watching what they say about schools. While students do “tweet” ridiculous posts regarding MCPS and Starr, the decision to close schools is in the hands of the Superintendent. He should not have to look at a student’s Twitter page when deciding when to close schools, and his claims are melodramatic.

Not to mention, the campaign and attention brought to cyberbullying only came after Starr was cyberbullied. Before this incident, Joshua Starr has minimal history of stepping in to stop cyberbullying.

According to, over 25 percent of teens have been cyberbullied, and victims of cyberbullying are likely to have low self-esteem and consider suicide. Cyberbullying has been going on for some time and has affected more than one out of four teenagers. Therefore, the campaign against bullying should have started long ago to prevent more suicides.

Starr should not have reacted as he did towards what he saw on Twitter. He is older than the students he is accusing of bullying, and that means he should act more maturely. Starr should not dwell on meaningless tweets that students post. It is very unlikely that a student would tease Starr to a point where he would consider suicide, none the less carry out a post that claims they will harm Starr if there is school the next morning.

While it is upsetting that Starr had to experience cyberbullying, it is even more unsettling that he had to see cyberbullying happen to him before he started a campaign. Some students have committed suicide, and it is too late for them for anybody to help since Starr waited until he was bullied to take action. Starr’s campaign against cyberbullying, which he has called “Cyber Civility,” is completely selfish and immature, since he did it to protect himself from cyberbullies instead of focusing on the real victims: the students who could be bullied anywhere at any time.