I was very surprised to read the story about the Utah high school football coach who suspended his entire team over multiple cyberbullying accusations.
Matt Labrum, the coach at Union High School, received reports that multiple players had been bullying another student on notorious question and answer site Ask.fm. Since Ask.fm users are able to be completely anonymous, the coach was unable to identify exactly which players were to blame, so he suspended the entire team after last Friday’s game.
While the official suspension only lasted one day, the team is still not back on the field and some changes have been made. The team has elected five new captains and the players have agreed to do community service in lieu of practicing this week.
For those who think that a one-day suspension is too lenient, we disagree. The coach in this case sent a strong message to the team, and by not trying to determine exactly which players were at fault, sent a “sense of community” message that this type of hurtful behavior is an issue for the whole team.
Message delivered. While the story doesn’t mention it, I hope that the players’ parents were involved as well. Coaches and teachers can only do so much. Parents need to take the lead in educating teens about cyberbullying and other negative online behaviors.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.