The emergence of Facebook, JuicyCampus.com, and MySpace as venues for teen gossip and cruelty has gotten a lot of attention of late, as well it should, what with kids offing themselves because of the god-awful things said by their classmates on the social-networking sites. The hue and cry over cyber-bullying has grown louder and louder, with parents lamenting the days when they just beat the hell out of one another on the playground after school. Today, the Times has the story of a Jewish school on Long Island with a unique way of handling our rumor-spreading instincts, which, they remind us, aren’t exactly new. Did you know there’s actually a name for gossip in the Bible? Lashon hara means “evil speech,” and, boy, does that sound a lot better than “total and complete bitchery,” which is our own personal translation. How is the Stella K. Abraham School for Girls, along with Jewish schools nationwide, handling their queen bees? We wish we could tell you it involved nail-pulling, but, alas, civil rights and all that.
But at 11:15 each morning at the Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls on Long Island, the voice of Emi Renov, a 17-year-old junior, buzzes over the intercom, gently reminding her fellow students to refrain from gossiping for the next 60 minutes.
Apparently, these kids actually listen to the girl and make an effort to be human (or silent) for an hour, which is sort of sweet and adorable! No word yet as to whether poor Emi Renov has any actual friends — that’s one job we would have made every effort to pass over way back when.