Cyberbullying and the First Amendment
Due to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter things like cyberbullying have become a new way of bullying. The definition of cyberbullying is “bullying that takes place using electronic technology” (What is Cyberbullying). This paper will talk about the topic of cyberbullying and the steps that I am required to take if I hear from a student that they are being bullied on Facebook. This paper will also talk about any First Amendment arguments that the student with the Facebook page might raise and my responses.
This case also involved a high school student who posted negative comments about a classmate under a sexually explicit photo. The state law prohibited the use of a computer to “post or encourage others to post on the internet private, personal or sexual information pertaining to minors” with the intent to intimidate or torment a minor.
However, the introduction of social networking has catapulted bullying into the conscience of our nation. With constant connectivity of cell phones and laptops, bullying for some students has become “inescapable.” It used to be a parent could be relatively assured that their kids were safe in their room, but that's no longer the case. America has witnessed the rise of the cyberbully. Cyberbullying is defined as the “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the medium of electronic text (Kevin Turbert, 2009).” Cyberbullying differs from traditional bullying in several ways.
Kevin P. Connolly, Rebecca Sedwick’s Mom Hires Morgan & Morgan in Cyber bullying-Suicide Case, Orlando Sentinel (October 22, 2013)
Kevin Turbert, Faceless Bullies: Legislative and Judicial Responses to Cyberbullying, 33 Seton Hall Legis. J. 651, 652 (2009).
Shaheen Shariff, Cyber bullying: Clarifying Legal Boundaries for School Supervision in Cyberspace, 1 International Journal of Cyber Criminology (January 2007).
Daniel B. Wood, Cyberbullying: Should schools police students' social media accounts?, The Christian Science Monitor (September 17, 2013)