Presentation on theme: "MOLLY WISEMAN SCHOOL LAW APRIL 26, 2012 Cyber-Bullying in Schools."— Presentation transcript:
MOLLY WISEMAN SCHOOL LAW APRIL 26, 2012 Cyber-Bullying in Schools
What is Cyber-Bullying? "Cyber-bullying" is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.
State Cyber-Bullying Laws? 49 out of 50 states have Bullying Laws Only 14 of those 49 include Cyber-Bullying, with 6 more having recently proposed the addition There are just 7 states who include off campus behaviors in their Bullying Laws There are NO Federal Laws against bullying
Common Acts of Cyber-Bullying Sending mean, vulgar, or threatening messages or images Posting sensitive, private information about another person Pretending to be someone else in order to make another person look bad Intentionally excluding someone from an online group
Bringing Traditional Bullying to a New Level… The victim has no place to hide; the bully can target them anytime, anyplace Wide audience Bully can be relatively protected through the anonymity of electronic forms of contact Deleting pictures and posts can sometimes be extremely difficult- once its out there, its out there for good
Effects of Cyber-Bullying Anxiety Loneliness Low self-esteem Poor social self-competence Depression Social withdrawal School refusal Poor academic performance Alcohol and drug use Suicide
Facts of Case 15 year old girl, Phoebe Prince, who had recently moved from Ireland with her family was bullied at South Hadley High School in MA to the point of suicide The taunting started when she had a brief relationship with a popular senior boy; some students reportedly called her an Irish slut, knocked books out of her hands and sent her threatening text messages, day after day Students abused her in the school library, the lunchroom and the hallways and threw a canned drink at her as she walked home Alarming, some teachers were aware of the harassment but chose not to stop it Some of the students plotted against Ms. Prince on the Internet, using social networking sites
Outcome of Case The prosecutor brought charges against six teenagers Two boys and four girls, ages 16 to 18, face a different mix of felony charges that include statutory rape, violation of civil rights with bodily injury, harassment, stalking and disturbing a school assembly Lawyers say it would be difficult to prove any type of negligence on the part of the school Princes parents filed a MA Commission Against Discrimination complaint against Gus Sayer (School Superintendent), Dan Smith (HS Principal), William Evans (Associate Principal), and the South Hadley School System for allegedly allowing Phoebe to be sexually harassed Case was settled for $225,000
What MA is Now Doing… Princes death drew international attention and was among several high-profile teen suicides that prompted new laws aimed at cracking down on bullying/cyber-bullying in schools All school districts in MA are now required to develop bullying prevention plans
MA State Law on Bullying/Cyber-bullying CHAPTER 92 AN ACT RELATIVE TO BULLYING IN SCHOOLS. (see Senate, No. 2404) Approved by the Governor, May 3, 2010; Includes cyber-bullying and addresses those behaviors that materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of the school. Includes behaviors that occur: at a location, activity, function or program that is not school-related, or through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased or used by a school district or school, if the bullying creates a hostile environment at school for the victim, infringes on the rights of the victim at school or materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2010/Chapter92
S.B. 261 (S2323); Each school district, commonwealth charter school and non-public school shall provide to all school staff annual written notice of the bullying prevention and intervention plan. The faculty and staff at each school shall be trained annually on the bullying prevention and intervention plan applicable to the school. Relevant sections of the bullying prevention and intervention plan shall be included in a district or school employee handbook. Define clearly what cyber bullying is and how severe it can be on schools.
What Schools are Doing Now… Character Education Program Series of books, videos and activities that develop virtues that are good for the individual and good for society (Classroom based) Olweus Bullying Prevention Program A comprehensive, school-wide program designed and evaluated for use in elementary, middle or junior high schools No Bully Anti-bullying Program, Stand Up Speak Out