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Home English English Cyberbullying Focused on Teachers at Czech Universities
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sadman

Cyber bullying is in today´s society perceived as a topic associated with pubescent and adolescent young people, only minimum of discussed cases are adults. Although cyber bullying of adults really exists, it is only little discussed and employers try to cover up these cases, in order not to discredit the institution where these cases take place.

 

The main difference between cyber bullying of children and adults is the motif of this negotiation: children cyber bullying happens in 95% just “for fun”, but on the other side, cyber bullying of adults is completely opposite, people cyber bully their victims in order to harm these people, discredit them and finally destroy their personal and professional life. In these cases, behavior of the aggressors turn into offenses, especially offense against a group of inhabitants and an individual, dangerous chasing or threatening. The universities are also a place, where innocent fun turns into real chasing and harming victims.

We will reveal a few cases of cyber bullying in following text. Some of them can be well-known for you from media, but majority is completely unknown for society. We do not name the institutions where these cases took place for strategic reasons, with respect to sensitivity of these confidential cases. All these cases happened in last five years at some public or private Czech universities.

The case of online threatening from Masaryk University (2008)

Cyberbullying lasting for four months by sending anonymous emails with death threats, sent by professor Břetislav Horyna to his colleague professor of philosophy Jaroslav Hroch, happened at one of Czech universities, Masaryk University in Brno.

Professor Hroch used to get anonyms full of threats for months. In December 2008 somebody hidden behind the identity of dead Augustin Navrátil, former Representative of Catholic dissident, wrote, that he: “will come for him”. The professor ignored the message, but another anonym came in January. But this time much rougher: “Have a side outlet from your body made, not to have everything in your pants- you are not able to get out of this now. We know

about you and about your family.”(Idnes.cz). Then came other emails, we shortly cite: “One injection in trolley bus, total paralysis, you´ll rot alive. And everybody will be glad, that they rid of a freak. Let yourself close to madhouse, we´ll let you be in there, corpse. Mix, we were waiting for has just come. But it won´t hurt you soon, you´ll have pampers and three injections of sedatives a day. It would be a benefit for you to give you few of them when you´ll eat pedestrian.” (Source: Idnes.cz)

Horyna was arraigned and convicted of crime violence against a group or an individual and he was imposed a fine of 50.000 Czech Crowns with alternative penalty of imprisonment for two months. He appealed against the judgment, but the punishment was in 2012 confirmed by Court of Appeal.

horyna

Břetislav Horyna (foto MAFRA)

This case is not unique in the Czech republic, different bullying, cyberbullying or mobbing manifestations occur among all the university teachers.

PhD student (public university, January- May 2011)

Jitka was a new graduate of one Czech public university, she graduated with Master degree and she tried hard to stay at her alma mater for some time. She applied an application form to PhD studies, she was accepted and she started to study. She met new colleagues, started to teach, she began to work on her research.

Strange messages started to come on her mobile phone, after a short time. Somebody started to threaten her in these messages: “I am tracking you, slut. I´ll come for you very early and

I ´ll savor you. I know where you live.” Jitka ignored these messages in begining, she blocked the unknown number, where these messages came from. After a short time first e-mails started to appear, written in the same way: “You cannot hide from me, I´ll disembowel you. Disappear from faculty and our city as well. If you contact cops, it is the last thing you do in your life.” This negotiation lasted for more than five months. Emails were supplemented by messages on Facebook, the intensity was increasing. Jitka was frightened more and more. Finally, she contacted Police of the Czech republic.

A group of students (whose teacher Jitka was and who weren´t able to finish her compulsory seminar properly) became suspected during investigation. Finally there was confirmed the IP address where the threatening emails came from and one of the students confessed. Petr N., 23 years old student decided to revenge himself for his school failure and started to threaten Jitka. He enjoyed change of Jitka´s behavior in seminars at the faculty…he was enjoying the fear he caused her.

The Police of the Czech republic evaluated this case as crime violence against a group or an individual and suspicion of crime by dangerous threatening. He appealed against the judgment, but results are not known until now. Petr was also excluded from faculty by ethic commission. It is interesting, that the faculty has never published and confirmed this case. There was also imposed embargo on giving any information.

Mikeš (September 2011 to January 2012)

Mikeš worked at one of Czech universities for 8 years as an assistant. Mikeš obtained a PhD. degree, he was preparing for his habilitation. This young teacher was quiet favorite among his students, he used to visit various parties with them. He was beloved by girl students, he was a combination of young, handsome and successful teacher. But Mikeš tried to keep a distance from girl students. He never had sex with them, he refused a lot of offers from girls who were in love with him. He defined borders he had never exceeded.

sadmanilustracni
Illustrative photo

Unfortunately two of his students were not able to cope with his rejection and decided to revenge. A gossip started to spread among students. It said, that Mikeš refuses girl students because he is homosexually oriented and that he is in relationship with his colleague. Mikeš made a mistake when this gossip started to spread around, he started to explain that he is not a homosexual and that this rumor is only a gossip. Although trying to defend himself, people were more and more interested in him. A few of Mikeš´s colleagues started to have fun of his homosexuality as well, they began to speculate who could be his potential partner….and started to have fun of him.

There was founded a discussion group based on Mikeš´s sexuality on Facebook, where were these topics debated. After some time there appeared various photos from parties and actions

he had visited. People also started to speculate who is his partner from these pictures. Afterwards, there was spread the information, that if you are man and you want to pass an exam, you have to put a pink shirt on. His telephone was full of messages from various telephone numbers, which threaten him and insulted: “We don´t want a queer here. Fly to warm countries, queer. You bugger, go enjoy stuff you like to the park.

This case didn´t get to police. Ethic commission and Academic senate of the faculty were interested in this case. The offender wasn´t known. Students were alerted that they are breaking an ethic codex of the faculty and all particular misconducts will be judged with help of police. Facebook group was locked and deleted afterwards. Mikeš was recommended to ignore these hate speeches. Cyber bullying became silent, it isn´t happening at this time any more. Mikeš stayed at the faculty and he is preparing for habilitation at the moment.

There are a lot of cases of teachers´ cyber bullying in the Czech republic, there are no exact statistics. We will try to let you know about other cases via our portal.

 

Kamil Kopecký, PhD, E-Bezpečí, Palacký University Olomouc
Sources:
Pokuta nebo vězení: Profesor odsouzen za vulgární maily kolegovi. Idnes.cz.
Online:
Kolínková, E. Oběť výhrůžných e-mailů na fakultě končí, viníka propustit nemohou. Idnes.cz. Online:
Shniješ zaživa, hrozil profesor kolegovi. Soud mu dal pokutu 50 000.
Kubíčková, K. Učitelé z filozofické fakulty podpořili profesora, jemuž vyhrožoval kolega. Online: http://brno.idnes.cz/ucitele-z-filozoficke-fakulty-podporili-profesora-jemuz-vyhrozoval-kolega-17u-/brno-zpravy.aspx?c=A101125_173526_brno-zpravy_trr
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