"It's really a form of premeditated cyberbullying ... and it's escalating," said Mary Kay Hoal, founder and president of Your Sphere, a social networking site for teens, and Your Sphere for Parents, which provides Internet safety information.
"It's much easier for kids because so many of them have smart phones," she said. "It's a technological wonder in the classroom, but when students use it irresponsibly, there are consequences."
She lays the blame on parents for not educating their children about technology and its "sometimes catastrophic" ramifications. Children need to be taught "digital citizenship," but with budget cuts schools cannot afford to set aside classes.
North Carolina teacher Emery, who in her 39 years in the classroom has mentored countless other teachers, understands some teachers are more vulnerable than others.
"When I first started teaching, there was a teacher across the hall whose kids literally ran around the room like crazy people and she yelled all the time," Emery said. "When you have to yell, you lose your effectiveness."
And if teachers aren't stimulating enough, "they become prey," she said. One younger teacher thought that if she just followed the lesson plan all would go well.
"You have to establish who is in control and not be heavy handed -- just, 'I am in charge here,'" said Emery. "I didn't recommend her for the position because she would have been eaten alive.
"Teachers have a reputation and kids know when you are strong and confident," she said.
And to those who feel they are headed toward a meltdown, "You need to go," Emery said. "As a professional, you should have a censor out there."
As for today's students, she said they are "angrier" than those she taught decades ago: "There is a whole lot out of their control."
"I don't think they are given the options of to be kids," Emery said, though not excusing their behavior. "We as a society present the plate they have to eat and sometimes there is no choice. It produces a lot of frustration and anger."