Most of us at the Weatherford Democrat grew up and finished most, if not all, of school without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like. Bullying was a problem back then, but you could generally get away from it when school let out. It’s hard to imagine being subject to it both in person and online.

A recent incident involving some local students caused community discord — and rightfully so — in a case of bullying that went viral on social media.

In some ways, there is an upside to having technology ... for instance the prevalence of audio, video or written evidence. But on the flip side, that very technological allure can be an evil. You’re taught not to believe everything you read or see on the internet — sage advice — but it’s easier said than done, particularly when emotions get involved.

In many situations, a post, comment or photograph gets distorted, and the further it spreads, the more dangerous it becomes. Rumors take hold, falsehoods become truths and the web is spun and spun.

In the case mentioned above, emotions were evoked and soon many of those seeking justice to an injustice became the bullies themselves, spreading rumors and naming people that were allegedly involved.

The parent of one such teen, who received threatening messages for her association with a classmate, begged adults to be cognizant of what their actions were doing to minors, and to minors, an encouragement to fact check.

The incident is still under investigation, and there are rules and procedures that must be followed, but we get it — the wheels of justice turn slowly, though they do grind exceedingly fine.

It’s not our role to be judge, jury and executioner — for in condemning others without the facts, we too become the bullies.

We applaud those who participated in a recent community support rally, and those who have displayed signs for the cause, denouncing bullying in the last couple of weeks.

Bullying cannot and should not be tolerated — for students as well as adults. But in speaking out or taking action, make sure the action you are taking has an end result that betters the situation — not makes it worse.

Weatherford Democrat

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