Hysteria over cruelty on social media is fueling panicky legislation exposing young people to “zero tolerance” suspensions, expulsions and prosecutions for harmless online speech. North Carolina has even made mocking a school official online punishable by a year in jail – but only if you’re a student. Cyberbullying is awful and its consequences can be… Continue reading Online Citizenship
The University of Central Florida’s decision to suspend a student over a social media post — and to later reverse the punishment — has raised questions about the university’s approach to the First Amendment and social media.
Court says North Carolina legislators overreached by criminalizing social-media speech that merely “annoys” or “pesters” a minor.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently upheld a criminal conviction of cyberbullying against a high school student who posted disparaging comments about a classmate on Facebook.
Sen. Arthur Orr introduced a bill on March 3 that would make it a crime if a student posts personal, private or sexual information on social media with the intent to “intimidate or torment” another student or school employee. The law would punish students for all statements — “whether true or false” — that are likely to provoke the stalking or harassment of a student or employee.
A proposed amendment to Illinois’ cyber privacy law would bar school officials from accessing student social media accounts to investigate cyberbullying without specific incident complaints or observed rule violations.
Author and law professor Catherine Ross spoke at the Newseum about conversations related to her new book, “Lessons in Censorship: How Schools and Courts Subvert Students’ First Amendment Rights.”
While school officials often say such searches are necessary to combat cyberbullying and other illegal activity, several lawmakers and free speech advocates argue efforts to regulate off-campus speech are an invasion of students’ privacy.
The bill would make it a misdemeanor if students post to social media to “intimidate or torment” another student or school employee. The bill would also criminalize statements — even if they are true — that are intended or are likely to provoke a third party to stalk or harass a student or school employee.
All 50 states have anti-bullying laws now, but policies vary widely at the district-level. Does your school have an anti-bullying policy? What protections are explicitly listed? Find out the best ways to cover this hotly-debated national issue at your school.