A Brief History Of The Battle Against Cyberbullying

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					CHAPTER 2

 A Brief History Of The Battle
 Against Cyberbullying

 To understand the dynamics of legislative and judicial       • Established an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) and
 discourse on cyberbullying, one must first under-              an NCIPA provision to address access to inap-
 stand the tedious balance between maintaining a safe           propriate material, security when using Web 2.0
 learning environment and maintaining the free speech           tools, network hacking, protection of personal
 rights of individuals.                                         information, as well as use and dissemination.

 Case law indicates schools may be found liable for
 damages if a victim can prove that:                        Oregon HB 2637 passed into law in 2007
                                                              • State officials added cyberbullying to a law that
     • The school environment had been altered for              called for school districts to develop anti-bullying
       them                                                     policies, establish procedures to report such be-
     • Any staff member knew or should have known               havior, and provide an outline of consequences.
       about the harassment                                     The law defines bullying as any act that “sub-
                                                                stantially interferes” with a student’s education
     • There was a failure to act
                                                                and takes place “on or immediately adjacent to
     • There was deliberate indifference                        school grounds” or at school-sponsored activi-
 However, students are protected by the First                   ties.
 Amendment and do not forfeit their constitutional
 right to free speech and expression while on cam-          Washington SB 5288
 pus, much less in the home, where cyberbullying is
                                                              • Provides that, by August 1, 2008, each school
 often carried out. School officials may discipline a
                                                                district shall amend its harassment, intimida-
 student for off-campus speech if they present factual
                                                                tion and bullying prevention policy to include a
 evidence which forecasts substantial disruption of,
                                                                section addressing acts of bullying, harassment
 or interference with, school activities. This principle,
                                                                or intimidation that are conducted via electronic
 established by United States Supreme Court decision
                                                                means. The policy shall include a requirement
 in 1969, is known as “The Tinker Standard.”
                                                                that materials be made available to educate
 Here are a few other laws that have been instrumental          parents and students about the seriousness of
 in the fight against cyberbullying:                            cyberbullying. Provides that the material shall
                                                                include information on responsible and safe
                                                                Internet use as well as what options are available
 CIPA, or the Children’s Internet                               if a student is being bullied via electronic means,
                                                                including but not limited to, reporting threats to
 Protection Act of 2000                                         local police and when to involve school officials,
     • Required schools and libraries receiving E-rate          the Internet service provider or phone service
       funds to implement “filtering,” a technology pro-        provider. If a school district has Internet use poli-
       tection measure which blocks visual depictions           cies, the act of bullying, harassing, or intimidat-
       of obscenity, child pornography or anything else         ing another student via online means shall be
       harmful to minors.                                       included as a prohibited act and be subject to
                                                                disciplinary action.

Minnesota SB 646                                           Elsewhere, online communities have been dedicated
                                                           to promote Internet safety and combat cyberbully-
   • Each school board shall adopt a written policy        ing, as well as other inappropriate behaviors on the
     regarding intimidation and bullying in all forms,     Web. Sites like NetSmartz and WebWiseKids of-
     including, but not limited to, electronic forms and   fer online safety tips. Telecommunications provider
     forms involving Internet use.                         Qwest Communications created an entirely separate
All across America, states legislatures are adopt-         site, www.incredibleinternet.com, to educate parents
ing policies similar to the ones implemented in            about the technology-driven world their children
Washington, Oregon and Minnesota. From PTA meet-           already know how to navigate.
ings to the steps of the nation’s Capitol, heavy-hitting
lawmakers are lining up behind proposals and bills         We are winning the battle. But there is still work to be
that address cyberbullying as the serious risk it has      done.