Print 35 comment(s) - last by Lerianis.. on Aug 16 at 6:17 PM

Seeks to expel students who digitally harass others

Lawmakers in California are considering a bill to punish bullies that harass fellow student via digital means, such as test messages or social networks like MySpace.

Introduced in the California legislature by Assemblyman Ted Lieu of Torrance, Assembly Bill 86 opens up the possibility of suspension or expulsion to students who threaten others via any electronic medium, defined as “any information … transmitted by wire, radio, optical cable, electromagnetic or other similar means.”

With the advent of the internet, educators are finding it increasingly difficult to watch for the signs of bullying, as students trade physical altercations with digital ones – incidents that leave occur outside of school grounds and leave little in the way of visible scars.

A California government-sanctioned review of the bill notes inspiration from the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Task Force on School and Campus Safety, which published a report suggesting schools increase their prevention activities against bullying in any form, “including cyber bullying.”

“The growth in the use of technology and social networking sites by younger Americans has fueled a fear among professionals that cyber bullying will become the means most often utilized to harass,” reads the report. “while certainly more prevalent in the elementary and secondary school setting, issues related to bullying or intimidation are increasingly relevant in other nontraditional settings.”

Much of legislators’ awareness of cyberbullying can be traced to the case of Megan Meier, a chronically-depressed 13-year-old who committed suicide in 2006 after a friendship with a “16-year-old boy” – really the parent of one of Meier’s friends, 49-year-old Lori Drew – turned south. A local police investigation eventually turned into a federal investigation, and in May 2008 Drew a federal grand jury indicted Drew on charges of conspiracy and accessing protected computers without authorization.

The FBI’s “questionable” logic in choosing to prosecute Drew based on her decision to violate MySpace’s Terms of Service (TOS) has since kicked off a thriving debate among legal experts, with lawyers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation informally offering to step in on Drew’s behalf.

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Safe and Secure
By Brenda J on 8/13/2008 9:28:09 AM , Rating: 2
Cyber bullying and predators are the reason I put my son on the new responsible website . This site requires a school to verify a childs identification before they can become a member. I know who he is talking to and that he is safe. Cyber bullying is not just a problem, it is an epidemic. The site I go to as a parent is and I continue to learn about cyber bullying and predators on line and how to keep them away from my son.

RE: Safe and Secure
By 306maxi on 8/13/2008 9:50:37 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think it's really as much of a problem if you teach your child not to give out their details to anyone and not to talk to anyone they don't like. I was on ICQ and MSN when I was at school and I just didn't talk to anyone I didn't like. I personally don't see the point of social networking. Kinds are online a lot these days. If they want to have send each other messages what's wrong with MSN Messenger and email? Social networking is the means to an end for the bullies. Stop children using needless social networking sites and the problem of cyber bullying disappears overnight.

RE: Safe and Secure
By HrilL on 8/13/2008 1:25:27 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think you quite understand the scope of the problem and the article doesn't mention this either. It is everywhere! It is not just Chat networks and social networks. It is the games these kids are playing online. I grew yup before we had these social networks and there was cyberybullies everywhere. Every game I played had them and you can't stop other people from giving out your contact info plus you block one screen name and they go out and make 10 more in a few seconds.

RE: Safe and Secure
By DASQ on 8/13/2008 10:23:49 AM , Rating: 2
You're the kind of overprotective reactionist that gets these kinds of ridiculous laws passed.

'Responsible' website. How is this different than a kid walking up to yours and calling him names? The bully is a verified part of your local school system. An otherwise cyber predator can reach your kid through many, many different means, if he has an email account, any kind of instant messaging of any kind.

The actual solution is to teach your kids what is right, what is wrong, and what to do if they are unsure. Chances are your kid is already scared sh*tless of telling you about the new friend he made online lest you ransack his personal life further.

RE: Safe and Secure
By Lerianis on 8/16/2008 6:12:35 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, but what is 'right' and 'wrong'. Each person had to decide that for themselves, and unfortunately (unless they are causing physical harm to someone else or property damage) no one else has the right to dictate to someone else what 'right' and 'wrong' is.

That's a period and done with there.

We just have to start NOT protecting our children, and have them live in the REAL WORLD. That is what my parents did for me when I was young: didn't protect me from jack shit and expected ME to report something if I didn't like it, which I did many times.

RE: Safe and Secure
By FITCamaro on 8/13/2008 10:35:07 AM , Rating: 2
How about you just teach your kid to ignore people who bother him? I got bullied in the real world plenty as a kid. You ignore the annoying @ssholes and they eventually go away.

Legislation is no substitute for good parenting.

RE: Safe and Secure
By MrBungle123 on 8/13/2008 10:46:52 AM , Rating: 3
I used to get bullied too... Then I took up weight lifting... then I put the bully in a trash can. The bullying stopped.

RE: Safe and Secure
By HinderedHindsight on 8/13/2008 12:53:29 PM , Rating: 3
Then I took up weight lifting... then I put the bully in a trash can.

They arrest kids now for that kind behavior and call it assault.

RE: Safe and Secure
By Spuke on 8/13/2008 1:29:32 PM , Rating: 2
They arrest kids now for that kind behavior and call it assault.
I say this is unfortunate because that simple act cured his problem and the bully wasn't unnecessarily hurt and probably learned a good lesson from it. Ignoring doesn't always work and telling your parents nowadays brings about mixed results.

RE: Safe and Secure
By hobbes7869 on 8/14/2008 7:52:47 AM , Rating: 2
I agree it is sad that when one fights back it is assault. I was bullied , chose to ignore, even tried to call the bullys parent at home to stop it, and i was in middle school. Didnt work, So one day I punched him. He stopped. Simple solution. Turns out he is now in jail for 15 years, and I have a good family and job, Weird how that works out. Anyway, I will always teach my kids that first try the non violent avenues, ignoring or verbal confrontation, and if it doesnt work they have my express permission to hit back.

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