I inadvertently turned off commenting on my post today, “Facing the realities of bullying in our schools and communities.” Thanks to a post by Cathy Nelson responding to those ideas and my WordPress dashboard, this was brought to my attention and I’ve fixed the problem. You should now be able to comment on that post!

I have noticed my blog spam is getting a bit higher lately. Everything is being caught by Akismet and Simple Trackback Validation or prevented by reCAPTCHA, but a fair number are still posting each day as Akismet Spam. I had tried to turn off trackbacks on several posts, and ended up inadvertently also turning off commenting. Sorry for the error!

In her post, Cathy expresses her desire (which I share, along with Carolyn Foote who commented first on Cathy’s post) to share a balanced and reasonable approach when it comes to the topics of Internet safety, cyberbullying prevention, and online social networking. Students under age 14 ARE using MySpace and other social networking websites. That’s a fact in the schools where I live and work today, in Oklahoma. It probably is where you live and work too.

I shared a series of six suggestions in my blog post today about the Megan Meier tragedy which teachers, administrators, and other educational leaders can do to further the cause of a balanced/reasonable approach toward these issues. I think simply showing examples of students constructively using digital media tools to make a positive difference in the world is VERY powerful. Many of the student-created movies from Mabry online, any of the videos created by Marco Torres’ students (their website is currently down for maintenance tho), or videos like this one posted to YouTube by young people involved in political campaigns can speak MUCH louder than PowerPoint slides or other pieces of advice we may try to share with parents as well as kids:

I sense a slogan here, not because it is silly or cheesy, but because it is true. Something like:

Digital Storytelling by Students: It’s not just fun. It’s the most powerful way to get the attention and change the opinions of your local school board. Wield your digital power wisely.


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On this day..

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  • http://weeklyvice.blogspot.com Danny Vice

    As details about Lori Drew’s 6 week cyber-voyeur techniques emerged, the more I am convinced that outing this kind of behavior is not only right, but essential. Essential? Why?

    It is becoming clearer and clearer that Lori Drew employed many of the same grooming techniques that child predators utilize to charm their way into gaining a child’s trust. Even Lori herself reported to police that she created the MySpace account in order to find out what Megan was saying.

    The most significant key here is that Lori Drew spent approximately 6 full weeks baiting Megan into this trust by posing as a “cute” boy that Megan would be attracted to. Right there, Drew utilizes the sexual stimulation that exists in male/female pair bonding in order to manipulate the 13 year old girl.

    Lori Drew groomed her victim like many child predators do, enticing her with flirtation, mild sexual conversation and playing on Megan’s weakness. Lori knew that Megan had a low self esteem and was treated for depression.

    Outing Child Predators has been public policy in most states and is usually upheld under the premise that the public has a right to reasonably protect itself from criminal behavior where it exists. Families with children have a right to know when those who might prey upon their child, live nearby. Public policy dictates that if a child is exposed to potential harm from predatory activity, then parents should at least have the opportunity to be aware such harm may exist.

    It is the predatory nature of this case that bears striking resemblance to the public policy. The only difference in this case is that the alleged perpetrator of this heinous act has not been charged or convicted.

    Thus far, details in the case have been heavily supported by Lori Drew’s own admissions, police records and interviews. The amount of speculation in this case has been minimal, and the majority of public outrage has largely focused on the facts presented.

    The Missouri Public Records Act of 1961 were devised partially to inform the public of persons, events, proceedings and reports that may effect the public directly. These records (such as the charges Lori Drew filed against the Meier family), were the principal documents used to tie Lori Drew to her abhorrent acts. By filing this police report, Lori in effect put herself into the spot light. The Blogging community simply connected the dots and reported the results.

    The Vice enjoys the sharp irony that Lori Drew’s own actions, activities and zeal to hurt eventually lead to her own uncovering. As I see it, public policy laws and Lori Drew’s own manipulations of those laws worked to her undoing. The Vice is appreciative for Lori Drew’s assistance in these efforts.

    Danny Vice
    http://weeklyvice.blogspot.com

  • http://weeklyvice.blogspot.com Danny Vice

    On Wednesday, October 21st, city officials enacted an ordinance designed to address the public outcry for justice in the Megan Meier tragedy. The six member Board of Aldermen made Internet harassment a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail.

    Does this new law provide any justice for Megan? Does this law provide equitable relief for a future victim or actually weaken the current law?

    I reject the premise of this new law and believe it completely misses the mark. The reasoning behind this opinion is that city officials have consistently treated this case as an Internet harassment case instead of a child welfare/exploitation case.

    Classifying this case a harassment issue completely fails to address the most serious aspects of the methods Lori Drew employed to lead this youth to her demise. The Vice disagrees that harassment was even a factor in this case until just a couple of days before Megan’s death.

    Considering this case a harassment issue is incorrect because during the 5 weeks Lori Drew baited and groomed her victim, the attention was NOT unwanted attention. It was not harassment at all. It was invited attention. Megan participated in the conversations willingly because she was lured, manipulated and exploited without her knowledge.

    This law willfully sets a precedent that future child exploiters and predators can use to reclassify their cases to harassment issues. In effect, the law enacted to give Megan justice, may make her even more vulnerable. So long as the child victim doesn’t tell the predator to stop, even a harassment charge may not stick with the right circumstances and a good defender.

    Every aspect of this case follows the same procedural requirement used to convict a Child Predator. A child was manipulated by an adult. A child was engaged in sexually explicit conversation (as acknowledged by Lori Drew herself). An adult imposed her will on a child by misleading her, using a profile designed to sexually or intimately attract the 13 year old Megan.

    Lori then utilized the power she had gained over this child to cause significant distress and endangerment to that child. She even stipulated to many of these activities in the police report she filed shortly after Megan’s death.

    We can go on and on here, but the parallels between this case and many other child predator cases that are successfully prosecuted bear striking similarities.

    Child Predator laws do not require much more than simply proving that an adult has engaged a minor in sexually explicit conversation. Lori Drew has already stipulated that her conversations with Megan were sometimes sexual for a child Megan’s age.

    City officials who continue to ignore this viable, documented admission and continue to address this issue as harassment are intentionally burying their heads in the sand, when the solution is staring them right in the face. Why?

    On June 5th, 2006, Governor Matt Blunt signed into law stiff penalties for convicted sex offenders. The Vice believes that officials continually reject a child predator classification of this case in order to keep the penalty of this offense out of this harsher realm.

    Opponents of this law are active in defeating this law not by changing it, but by disqualifying cases like Megan’s from ever being heard.

    There are several other child exploitation laws on the books. To date, none of them have even been considered by City, State and Federal officials in this case. I’m outraged that a motion was never even filed, so that the case could at least be argued before a judge or jury.

    Those satisfied with this response out of Missouri officials need to think through the effect this law will truly have. It quite honestly has the potential to directly undermine Jessica’s law. It quiet easily gives prosecutors a way out of prosecuting child endangerment and child predator cases in the future.

    Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing here.

    Danny Vice
    http://weeklyvice.blogspot.com

  • A message from Tina Meier

    This is Megan’s mom, Tina Meier, and I wanted to update everyone on the details for the candlelight vigil for Saturday, November 24, 2007.

    *We are meeting at 6:00 p.m. at the Fort Zumwalt West Middle school parking lot.

    *Please bring a candle, cup to hold the candle and something to light the candle. (If you cut a small X in the bottom of the cup, you can slide the candle through it and then you won’t have wax dripping on you)

    *We will then light the candle’s shortly after 6:00 p.m. and start walking from the school down Waterford crystal drive towards Megan’s house and end up in front of the Drew’s house.

    *There is a common ground area across the street and we will have pa system and microphone. if anyone would like to speak, read a poem, etc., they are more than welcome.

    *This wonderful idea came from students who wanted to see justice for Megan and for that we are so happy. Nothing we can do will bring Megan back, but we can all learn from Megan and take a part of her with us everyday for the rest of our lives to try to be a better person and think about things we say to people before we say them!

    *****Remember this is a peaceful candlelight vigil******
    We hope to see everyone there!

  • Hypatia

    Lori Drew is a psychopath. That part is clear.

    But more disturbing than that are the actions of authorities: If it had been an adult MALE that “carried on” in a sexually explicit way with a 13 year old girl, even if it WERE for the purposes of revenge for his teen daughter, he’d be locked up as a pedophile.

    Second, there are al-READY laws on the books that cover this type of harassment. For chrissake: just implement them!

    What is particularly chilling to me, is that Lori Drew knew that the victim was known to be suicidal in the past. That means that her statement to her that the “world would be better off without you” or whatever it was… is even MORE chilling: it means she was TRYING to steer this girl to suicide. It means she had a desire to push it in that direction, and did so.

    Reminds me of Charles Manson. He never “technically” put his own hands upon his victims either, but he “made it happen” by manipulating people, I mean that’s the premise upon which he was convicted: that he had INCITED it.

    Same thing here. Lori Drew incited this suicide and should be just as responsible as Manson was when he incited those murders—and she should also be treated just like any other adult who engages in online relationships of a sexual nature with under-aged children.

  • http://weeklyvice.blogspot.com Danny Vice

    The naming of Lori Drew has sparked quite a debate indeed. Some major news outlets have chosen to name the perpetrator(s) behind this story such as the New York Times. Some have chosen not to. The mainstream media however has concluded that the blogging community should shoulder the responsibility of first naming the perpetrator behind this story.

    The first question I have in this debate is simple. What is new here? Since before the French Revolution, the media has been used to ‘out’ individuals who’s actions seem to bear public relevancy in some way.

    Although Lori Drew has not yet been charged in the case of Megan Meier, the media has never required formal charges to be made before running a story. In the case of some journalist like Dan Rather, some media outlets run with stories before even confirming that they’re true.

    In this particular case, media outlets that have chosen to withhold Lori Drew’s identity have done so in consideration of other Drew family members.

    I’m wondering if by doing this, the media plans to always withhold the names of interesting persons who outrage the community, if those persons have children. This would certainly be quite a ground-breaking event

    Right at this moment, there is a story of a cop who is under investigation in the strange death of one wife and the disappearance of another. The cop in the story has a family, yet the media huddles outside his home relentlessly.

    I could go back and list thousands of stories where the media wasted no time in delivering the names and occupations of individuals that were later cleared of any wrong-doing. I’ve never heard of another instance where the media apologized for naming names.

    Don Henley’s ‘Dirty Laundry’ certainly applies well to conduct of most major news outlets.

    Lori Drew is a primary subject of the story, she is not a rape victim, and is not a minor. Identifying her breaks no new ground, nor does it deviate from what news outlets do on a daily basis.

    I also remind readers that her name and her role in the Megan Meier tragedy were documented as public record. A public record that Lori filed on her own accord. This is a critically important fact in this debate.

    News outlets, bloggers and the general public were handed Lori’s name and Lori’s own self admissions when she herself filed that police report and sought to elevate the entire situation into the public domain.

    Had Lori Drew simply acknowledged what she did was wrong, and apologized – the police report that identified her may have never been filed, and the entire situation may have well been kept at the lowest profile.

    Will we see the media write about this? Not likely.

    Danny Vice
    http://weeklyvice.blogspot.com

  • BGS

    I BELIEVE LORI DREW SHOULD BE PROSECUTED! THIS IS NOT TOLERABLE! I LOST MY STEPSON IN 1995 OVER A 14 YR OLD GIRL AND HER MOTHER WROTE A 5 PAGE LETTER THAT TOLD HIM TO KILL HIMSELF. SO HE DID, HE WAS HANGED.

  • Naomi Bell

    I could not believe my ears when I was up watching the news the other night. I like most of you felt that this was no different the the show “to catch a predator”. Why is it that women are not being charged as heavily as men would be if the situation was flipped? Why are we allowing for situations like this to be given a blind eye because it wasn’t a man? I fear for my daughter when she gets older and has to deal with the harsh reality of other malicious children, but now you also have to worry about their parents doing harm to them as well. I believe that Lori Drew should be prosecuted and charged with at least manslaughter. She deserves to be charged, and have her fate decided by the criminal justice system. I am appauled at the way this case has been handled, and that we are only hearing about it now. Megan was an innocent victim who was preyed upon by an adult; an adult who knew how Megan’s life had been with depression. She might as well have killed her personally. I can only imagine what the Meier family has been going through. I know as a parent myself I don’t know what I would do to somebody who had purposely put my child through such anguish. This act was premedatated and was done with a specific intent in mind. I can’t believe that our society has FAILED ANOTHER CHILD. My prayers go out to this family and I hope for the best.

  • Someone Else

    Parents who created the fake MySpace account and inevitably killed Megan… this is their contact information.

    Lori Drew and Curt Drew
    269 Waterford Crystal Dr
    O’Fallon, MO 63368-7130

    Phone number (636) 272-2670

  • Naomi Bell

    Alhtough I have a few things I would like to say to them. I will leave my voice to the people who can do something about it rather then wasting my time harrassing them, and possible being arrested . The irony in that is we would get arressted for harrassment, but they are still free. How ridiculous. I am sure they have the internet and are receiving millions of e-mails or shortcut sto sits such as this. I only hope for them that they find some way to be forgiven for what they have done. I know it would take a lot for me to forgivr thrm, but I am not the one who decides their after life.

  • Msleelee

    The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, they say…Parents, DO teach your children the
    effects of bullying. It’s NEVER nice to bully or taunt others. That’s why many kids
    grow up to live a depressing life. The virginia tech murderer, was also bullied as a kid.
    Teach your kids about respect and diversity.

  • http://weeklyvice.blogspot.com Danny Vice

    While the Megan Meier case seems outrageous and unique, it isn’t unique. Hundreds of cases of egregious and heinous acts go on every day with the same excuses out of our lawmakers.

    One such other case….The case of Nikki Catsouras, is a classic example of disgusting, hateful activity against innocent victims, while our lawmakers excuse themselves from enacting laws to prevent this.

    The excuse lawmakers use to let themselves off the hook stem from the growth of the Internet and how fast it’s changing. This is a sham.

    Chat rooms, message boards, instant messengers and email have been in existence for far over a decade now. While the software used to transmit messages changes slightly, the basic essence of using the Internet to send a message is largely the same. Is a decade or two long enough to establish some basic decency laws in regards to Internet usage?

    I’ve posted the Nikki Catsouras story along with many details about the Megan Meier case so the inactivity out of our lawmakers towards these types of cases can be clearly seen.

    Those who are interested in learning about cases like Megan’s and Nikki’s case are encouraged to drop by and comment on them if you like. I have a couple of polls set up as well. Danny Vice would like to hear your point of view.

    Public awareness of the problem and discussions about possible solutions are the best way to pressure elected officials into action instead of excuse making.

    I invite you to come by and share your opinion.

    Danny Vice
    http://weeklyvice.blogspot.com

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