Monday, June 05, 2017

In Which I Take on ISIS

Last thing I want to do is tangle with a terrorist. They really give us no choice, though ... unless you think "join or die" is a choice.

I have a student who I'll call Sweetie Pie. A year ago, Sweetie Pie started a blog on weebly, after she was bullied and harassed in middle school.

Sweetie Pie is very proud of her blog. Last Friday she told me, "I get comments on my entries. I'm kind of surprised, because I have readers in the Middle East."

Indeed. Red flag, anyone?

Okay, so Teacher Annie goes home Friday night and calls up Sweetie Pie's blog. It's a nice little site, and commendable in these days of Instagram when kids have no attention span. But I noticed right away that the comments on Sweetie Pie's blog went to her email and not in the comments section.

Oh, by all the bored gods, do you know what these terrorists do? They contact young American girls and groom them for membership!

Today, when Sweetie Pie came into class, I took her downstairs to the school psychologist. We sat with her and asked about her Middle Eastern reader. She said he was from Dubai, and just her age.

The psychologist asked her if that wasn't a bit suspicious? She blushed and said she wondered how his English could be so good. Apparently they have been corresponding via email for quite some time.

Sweetie Pie's mother is very, very protective ... to the point where Sweetie Pie can't bring her phone to school. So the counselor and I couldn't call up any of her correspondence to analyze it. We can't even look at her blog in school -- it's blocked by the firewall.

The psychologist and I warned Sweetie Pie in no uncertain terms that her correspondent was probably not some nice young teenage fellow from Dubai. She said she would block him.

Now what do I do? I could use your free advice. I don't want to alarm Sweetie Pie's mom (who apparently is easily alarmed). But Sweetie Pie is a frail young lady. She would certainly be a candidate for an online courtship of dubious and possibly dangerous origins.

What should I do? Tell Mom, talk to Sweetie Pie further, or trust Sweetie Pie to block her Dubai gentleman?

It's a sick world we live in. Sick!


anne marie in philly said...

make sure she blocks the dude; if not, tell her mom. keep telking with sweetie pie and convince her that this dude is NOT her friend!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Good for you for catching on to the suspicious emailer! I think it was wise to get the school psychologist involved too. Perhaps it would be best to let the school psychologist handle the decision about whether parental involvement is warranted here. He/she probably has to make decisions like that all the time.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I agree with Debra. The psychologist may be the best person to handle this. But thank goodness you caught this! This is indeed how they groom youngsters like this.

Bob Slatten said...

Wow. It is a scary world, and not nearly as big as we thought.
I think I'd let the psychologist handle Sweetie to determine if she is blocking this suspicious person, and, if not, then notify the parent.

Debi said...

My comments go to my email as well, for screening purposes, I believe. I can delete , post or report.
Anyway Weebly?

I would speak with her again, you have a connection of trust with her I assume. Tell her of your concerns , with backup proof if need be, if she still gives you the feeling she isn't paying hed, Explain to her her your responsibilities as a human to protect her & others at all costs.
Not much for the shrink idea but that's just me. If she is legally under her mother's care, explain that you may have to speak to her mother for her protection, but you know young girls (

Tough one, but your instinctive, follow your instincts!

Yes the world is a screaming mess!


Anti Kate said...

The school psychologist will probably have legal requirements around what they can and cannot do. Ask what those things are. Ask for advice from this person, they will know much better than any of us will the state laws around this sort of thing.

Also, Go You! for catching this one.

*I was a foster parent in my state for awhile. The rules and regs, while well-meaning, can be Byzantine. Step carefully.

Janie Junebug said...

You and the school psychologist should probably follow up with her. If you still have concerns, one of you should go ahead and contact the mom. Better to be safe.


Ol'Buzzard said...

I am a retired school principal. You have an legal obligation to contact her parents if you are suspicious of an incident that may place the child in jeopardy. You should report the information to your principal (chain of command); but that does not relieve you of the responsibility to notify the parent. The child is not adult and cannot be left to make decisions that may cause her harm.

You are legally required to pass this suspicion on - and it could come back to bite you if you do not.

There are state agencies that monitor child exploitation...your principal will have legal requirement to inform authorities.

You have done good.
the Ol'Buzzard


all good advice..let psychologist handle it

Davoh said...

Um, as a sort of side track - the "phisherfolk' are becoming VERY good at creating fake websites. NEVER click on anything that looks like a "real" email from anyone you do not know. Self recently received an email from the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) which almost fooled me - except there was one 'mis-spelled' word. Contacted the ATO and yep, fake, phishing scam.