A recent wave of student-on-student cyberbullying through fake online social profiles has thrown the problem into the spotlight and prompted the question of what schools are doing about the issue.
Though school-imposed restrictions on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have often gone too far, when it comes to cyberbullying schools should take a stronger response in order to protect students from the likely psychological and emotional costs of bullying.
Public school students involved in cyberbullying, sexting and other forms of online abuse can suffer grave consequences. It’s important for parents to talk to their children about these things and for them to be aware of what can happen.
Maryland laws and regulations give school superintendents a lot of power to deal with these abuses as instances of online abuse are disruptive to the school community. Under the law, so long as the disruption is substantial, the student responsible can be suspended or even expelled.
But what exactly constitutes a “substantial” disruption is left up to the discretion of the individual superintendent— that is why they have so much power.
On April 14, 2011 Patrick Hoover, principle member at HooverLaw, LLC presented the firm’s new cyber abuse slide presentation to a group of Maryland and D.C. attorneys. Focused on — cyberbullying, sexting and digital dating violence — schools often suspend and can even expel a student for certain forms of online bullying. And if reported, the police can also become involved, along with the potential for arrest and prosecution. For a look at the online presentation please click here.
Check out the evolving state of the law in Maryland impacting both school and the community from digital injury done to and by students and teens. There is a clear trend seen in the increasing number of cases reported to schools and police.