Technology, media, minors, and ethics

An ethical dilemma arose this weekend when popular website Jezebel published the names of teenagers who had tweeted ugly racist remarks about President Obama (having first contacted administrators at the teens' schools). Slate columnist Katy Waldman ponders whether it's ever right to publicize the names and actions of minors, no matter how shameful those actions are.


Contacting their schools would have been an appropriate action in a case of cyber bullying. I don't think anyone can make a serious case that the president was bullied by the stupid tweets of teenagers.

What, exactly, are the schools supposed to do with this information? I dislike racism, but I'm also not crazy about forcible indoctrination. Even if they can get the kids to SAY the right things, it doesn't change what's in their hearts. And any consequences they face would simply make them martyrs. (A bigger question is why the schools would be able to impose consequences anyway.)

The possibility that this could have a long-term negative impact on the lives of these kids should make us all shudder. I think most of us could look back on some bad things we've done in the past and be thankful we were allowed to leave them behind.
On the one hand I rather hold to the opinion that the schoolboy code, while hardly optimal morality is a minimal morality and there really should be a good reason for transgressing.

On the other hand, immunity for trolls is a rather distasteful thing.

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