Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Can You Outlaw Cyberbullying?

from the tricky,-tricky... dept

Over the years, there have been a ton of stories about online cyberbullies and mobile bullies among kids. While some are trying to solve the issue with people dressed up as super heroes others are seeing if they can turn to the law to prevent cyberbullying. Apparently, some politicians in Washington state are trying to pass a law that would require all schools to have anti-cyberbullying policies. Yes, you read that right. It's not a law outlawing cyberbullying, but a law telling schools that they need to make cyberbullying against school policy. That suggests that it wasn't already against school policy -- which seems odd when most schools already have anti-bullying policies in place. It's also unclear how this is going to actually stop bullying. Kids don't necessarily read carefully through school policies before deciding on their bullying tactic of choice. The fact is that it's not going to stop cyberbullying at all. If anything, it's going to make lawmakers think they've done something good and ignore the actual issue. Bullying of all forms isn't going to go away. Instead, people should be focusing on ways to deal with the bullying by actually looking to stop bullies and deal with those impacted by bullying. That doesn't happen by passing laws.

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  • identicon
    Adrian Anders, 23 Feb 2005 @ 12:27pm

    Tis a sad day to be a Washingtonian

    Knowing from experience what high school is like in WA state, I could see this as becoming a serious debacle. It won't take long for somebody to be expelled for sending a "bullying" message to another student off campus on their own time. Bonus points if the bully comes from a rival school. Are schools going to start policing the activities of their students out of school? At home? What if the parent objects to the disciplinary measures, or even agrees with the remarks that the student makes? Is it going to be limited to students, or does making disparaging remarks against teachers and faculty count under this rule as well? This is an issue to watch for sure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2005 @ 5:24am

    No Subject Given

    the term 'online cyberbullies' is redundant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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