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Lori Drew Officially Acquitted

Well, it’s official.  On Sunday, U.S. District Judge George Wu acquitted Lori Drew of all federal criminal charges for her involvement in the suicide of 13-year-old Megan Meier.  As you may recall, back in November a jury initially found Drew guilty of three misdemeanor charges of illegally accessing a protected computer (in essence, she was…

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Cyberbullying Legislation

There has been a lot of discussion lately concerning proposed or recently passed state and federal legislation designed to address cyberbullying.  One particular bill, proposed by California Congresswoman Linda T. Sanchez and called the “Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act,” was re-introduced in the House of Representatives last month (the proposal was initially introduced in May…

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Cell Phones in the Classroom

We have been discussing the issue of cell phones in classrooms a lot lately.  Most schools have a clear policy prohibiting the use of cell phones in classrooms and standard practice seems to be “if I see it, you lose it.”  Some policies specify that the phones will be confiscated for the day, others say…

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A Call for Legal Clarity

There is an interesting article in this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education in which legal expert Robert M. O’Neil discusses many of the legal challenges facing those who wish to “stand up to cyberbullies.” In the article, O’Neil presents just some of the issues confronting the legal community in responding to cyberbullies. The questions are…

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Jeff’s Law

Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist has just signed into law the “Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act.” This is due mostly to the efforts of our friend Debbie Johnston from Cape Coral, Florida, a first-grade schoolteacher whose son Jeffrey took his life after being bullied and cyberbullied. This law: – requires districts to adopt…

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Federal cyberbullying bill proposed…

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, a federal law has been proposed that defines “cyberbullying” and specifies penalties (in the form of fines and up to two years imprisonment) for violators. The bill is formally called the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act (HR 6123), and was introduced jointly by Representatives from Missouri and…

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Cyberbullying Bill in Illinois

Illinois is seemingly about to pass a law to criminalize any instances of cyberbullying that involve a direct threat to another person. Penalties include up to one year in jail for the first instance of harassing someone online, with repeat offenses leading to up to three years imprisonment. Oddly, the bill only mentions web sites…