Wednesday, December 02, 2015
Bill would allow school officials to discipline students for off-campus cyberbullying
The text of English's bill has not been posted online, but it raises questions about how much reach school officials should have in situations that take place off campus.
Officials at some schools have already taken steps to punish students for websites they have created off-campus or for incidents of cyberbullying, since the actions have an obvious effect on the climate at the school and can lead to serious problems.
The bill, HB 1384, is likely the same as the one English introduced in the 2015 session, which had the following summary:
This bill authorizes any school district to subject a student to discipline for cyberbullying.
The district must have jurisdiction to prohibit cyberbullying that originates on a school's campus if the electronic communication was made using the school's technological resources or the electronic communication was made on the school's campus using the student's own personal technological resources.
The district must have jurisdiction to prohibit cyberbullying that originates off the school's campus if it was reasonably foreseeable that the electronic communication would reach the school's campus or there is a sufficient nexus between the electronic communication and the school which includes, but is not limited to, speech that is directed at a school-specific audience or the speech was brought onto or accessed on the school campus, even if it was not the student in question who did so.
In determining the appropriate disciplinary action for a cyberbullying offense, the district must consider the nature of the offense, the age of the student, and for a first-time or minor cyberbullying offense, the district may mandate that the student attend counseling and education sessions; for a second or more serious cyberbullying offense, the district may prohibit the student from participating in school activities or events; and for a serious incident of cyberbullying, the school may suspend or expel the student.
"Cyberbullying" means bullying through the transmission of a communication including, but not limited to, a message, text, sound, or image by means of an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone, or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager.