Calif. schools get tough vs. cyberbullying under amended law
Cyberbullying laws have become quite the rage in recent years, as legislators attempt to empower school officials to deal with harassing and threatening communications by students against other students. A recent incident in San Jose, Calif., shows that school officials mean business in using these laws.
A May 25 Associated Press report relates that three students at a San Jose middle school were suspended for alleging posting threats on Facebook.
School officials relied on a 2011 amendment to an existing state cyberbullying law that makes clear that school officials can take action against harassing posts on “social network Internet Web sites.”
California originally enacted a cyberbullying law in 2008. It defined “electronic act” as “the transmission of a communication, including, but not limited to, a message, text, sound, or image by means of an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager.”
In 2011, state lawmakers amended this definition to include “or a post on a social network Internet web site.”
“The increase in popularity of social networks has also brought an increase in abuse and in some instances depression and suicide,” said State Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D–San Jose, in a news release last July. She added that “preventing these tragedies is why I introduced this legislation.”
More articles related to Speech Commentary | cyberbullying, public schools, social networking, student speech.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Both comments and pings are currently closed.
The First Amendment Center is an educational organization and cannot provide legal advice.
Ken Paulson is president of the First Amendment Center and dean of the College of Mass Communication at Middle Tennessee State University. He is also the former editor-in-chief of USA Today.
Gene Policinski, chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute, also is senior vice president of the First Amendment Center, a center of the institute. He is a veteran journalist whose career has included work in newspapers, radio, television and online.
John Seigenthaler founded the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center in 1991 with the mission of creating national discussion, dialogue and debate about First Amendment rights and values.
Dr. Charles C. Haynes is director of the Religious Freedom Center at the Newseum Institute.. He writes and speaks extensively on religious liberty and religion in American public life.
David L. Hudson Jr. is an expert in First Amendment issues and a regular contributor to the First Amendment Center's website. Hudson teaches law and was a scholar at the First Amendment Center.