Several states push to stem cyber bullying

The growing problem of cyber bullying has led to a push among states to pass laws aimed at clamping down on the student-spun harassment, intimidation, and threats coursing through the web, reports the Washington Post. Most of the laws are aimed at school districts, requiring them to develop policies on cyber bullying–for example, how to train school staff members or discipline students. At least 13 states have passed such laws, including Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, and Washington. A handful of other states are considering similar measures–and this week, California becomes the latest state to tackle the issue. As of Jan. 1, California schools may suspend or expel students who commit cyber bullying. The law also singles out such harassment as a subject to be addressed by school officials. "This is part of a trend that is happening across the country, which is basically state legislatures telling the school districts that this is an issue they want them to address," said Nancy Willard, executive director of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use. "The message is: Do something." Though many schools throughout the nation have developed their own policies, some remain unsure how to handle cyber bullying. It can be time-consuming and difficult to investigate, given the veil of anonymity the web offers. But the biggest cause of schools’ hesitation, educators and legal experts say, is the fine line between protecting students from harassment and observing their right to free speech. That, Willard said, impels some educators to take a "not my problem" approach to off-campus cyber bullying…

Click here for the full story

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at