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States Seek Laws to Curb Online Bullying 251

An anonymous reader writes to tell us that many states are considering laws to help crack down on "cyberbullying". "Steven Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, said it will be difficult to draft a cyberbullying law that doesn't infringe on free-speech rights. 'The fact that two teenagers say nasty things about each other is a part of growing up,' he said. 'How much authority does a school have to monitor, regulate and punish activities occurring inside a student's home?' In Arkansas, the state Senate this month passed a bill calling on school districts to set up policies to address cyberbullying only after it was amended to settle concerns about students' free-speech rights."
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States Seek Laws to Curb Online Bullying

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  • Ugh (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @01:12PM (#18097678) Homepage Journal
    I just watched something on TV about Cyber-bullying. This obese girl demonstrated how she was constantly picked on over the internet. The result? She was getting floods of IM's from about 3 people saying nasty things. She begins crying like her life is over. Apparently, right clicking on their screenname and click "block this user" is too dificult a solution :|
  • Re:Damn ACLU (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bacon Bits ( 926911 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @01:24PM (#18097840)
    Yeah, the key here is that the "bullying" the law is trying to address in this case is the same as "verbal harassment" and, in extreme cases, "verbal assault". Those are the definitions that should probably be used, and I'm not convinced that a new law should be created to deal with a special case of them over the Internet.

    Of course, if those terms aren't defined or aren't illegal, then I'd agree with Mr. Brown that it would be difficult to define without infringing on first amendment rights. If you read TFA, you'll see that all he says is that writing the law and enforcing the law would be difficult. He's only got two lines about him in the whole article.
  • by Lockejaw ( 955650 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @02:17PM (#18098718)
    The nanny state is neither a liberal nor a conservative ideal. It is an authoritarian one. There are authoritarian liberals and authoritarian conservatives.
  • Re:Um... No? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kijori ( 897770 ) <ward.jake@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @09:21PM (#18103834)
    The supreme court ruled 37 years ago that bullying is not protected speech, in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District: "conduct by the student, in class or out of it, which for any reason - whether it stems from time, place, or type of behavior - materially disrupts classwork or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others is, of course, not immunized by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech."

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling