Trash the dirt

May 19, 2009, midnight | By Jenna Bushnell | 12 years, 6 months ago

A former student from Walt Whitman high school was arrested on Wednesday after posting death threats on the teen gossip website, The student created a poll listing the names of students and posed the question, "Who would you like to kill?"

This arrest really demonstrates how scary and disgusting gossip websites like can be. As a usual lover of the wonderful World Wide Web, it horrifies me that websites like this one even exist. Other websites like, which was recently shut down because of financial troubles, and simply feed off of cowardice and bitterness.'s popularity has rapidly spread through Montgomery County schools, including Blair. Students who visit the website can see hundreds of posts that insult, degrade and embarrass classmates and teachers. It's as easy as picking the state, county and high school of whomever you want to victimize. Posters are able to hide behind anonymous usernames and spew hatred and lies for the whole world to see at the click of a button.

As I made the decision to write this blog, my instant fear was that I would subject myself to becoming victimized on this website. That fear, though, subsided as I realized that I would not hide behind a cheesy nickname to voice my opinion.

Yes, gossip is an unfortunately integral part of our society but its spread from simple person-to-person communication to person-to-world contact via the internet is what is so alarming. Not only can the victim of the attacks view the hurtful posting, but so can friends, family, colleges and future employers. This can be extraordinarily damaging to someone's reputation and is a form of cyber bullying that cannot be ignored.

I'm all for freedom of speech when it is not slanderous, but posters on have the ability to say whatever they want about someone and not suffer the consequences. While some of what is said on the site might be true, it is easy to discern that some of what is said is incorrect and hurtful.

It's impossible to think that people will stop finding some reason to hate each other, but it is not unreasonable to hope that people will stop being so blatantly mean. We can only hope teenagers will stop hiding behind anonymous façades to take out anger and frustration and will keep their lies and dirt to themselves.

Jenna Bushnell. Jenna Bushnell likes sunshine and funfetti cupcakes. In her free time she enjoys excavating ancient Mayan temples, choreographing classic Broadway revivals, and smiling at strangers. For the right price, she will recite all of the words to "Rock Yo Hips" by Crime Mob. More »

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