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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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RE: What's wrong with society?
By FITCamaro on 8/13/2008 9:47:57 PM , Rating: 1
My parents were the same way. Another part of the problem though is that there are groups out there who are trying to make punishing your kids a crime. Spanking your kids is a child abuse. Slapping your kid is child abuse. Yelling at them degrades their self esteem and shouldn't be done. Typical yuppie crap.

RE: What's wrong with society?
By Lerianis on 8/16/2008 6:05:15 PM , Rating: 1
It is child abuse, FitCamaro. There are ALWAYS other ways to teach children that what they are doing are 'wrong'. The problem is that in a lot of cases, they aren't doing anything that is PHYSICALLY harmful to others and aren't forcing anyone else to do something that they don't want to do or destroying property.

Therefore, parents should butt out. And I tell parents that ALL THE TIME. I have two children of my own, straight A+ students, no criminal record, the oldest now in college..... and I raised them with the notion that unless you are physically hurting someone else, destroying property or forcing someone else to do something they don't want to do.... no one has the right to get on your case about what you are doing, and you should tell them where they can stick it.
I also taught them that NO ONE (even the police and 'public servants') automatically gets your respect. They have to EARN IT by their actions and prove to you first that they are WORTHY of respect. Unfortunately, when you go by that rule..... most people are not worthy of your respect, because you notice that they are hypocritical asses, as I have noticed for YEARS now.

There is nothing wrong with punishing your children, however slapping, spanking, or using ANY form of physical violence against your child is abuse.... and you should be in jail or prison if you cannot find another way to 'discipline' your child. I'll be blunt: I have NEVER had to physically chastise a child. In fact, most times when I find they have done something 'wrong'.... they don't know it is wrong, and I have to EXPLAIN to them why it is wrong because their parents NEVER DID.

The thing that you notice when you look at the 'criminals' in our criminal justice system, as I did: most of them were raised in conservative families, where physical punishment was an almost DAILY thing.... and it fucked them up, to be quite blunt.

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