Though you mostly hear about cyberbullying in a student-on-student capacity, a recently enacted law in North Carolina makes it a crime for students to slander their teachers online.
Oh, and it’s the first state to do so, notes NBC.
Cyberbullying laws are being put in place nationwide, but they mostly protect students from students. But what about teachers, who often find themselves as targets of hurtful and professionally harmful online attacks? North Carolina’s School Violence Protection Law of 2012 comes to their rescue, condemning students who go after teachers and other school employees online.
Student cyberbullying of teachers has been a significant problem in North Carolina. Judy Kidd, president of the Classroom Teachers Association of North Carolina (the group that fought for the law) laid out some examples of when students target teachers for the Wall Street Journal. One sixth-grader sent sexually explicit emails about a teacher to other students. Another high school student posted false and career-ending allegations on Facebook about an instructor, alleging that he had touched her in an inappropriate manner.
“It became apparent that we had to get some kind of protection,” she told the newspaper.
It is a misdemeanor to do the acts listed in the legislation, meaning that a guilty student could face a $1,000 fine, jail time, and school transfer. The ACLU opposed the law, at least in its most current incarnation.
“We expressed our concerns that this would chill online free speech because the words ‘intimidate’ and ‘torment’ weren’t defined in the statute, and don’t really have a clear definition in the law,” said Sarah Preston, policy director for the ACLU in North Carolina, who believes that the law could “invite arbitrary enforcement by officers based on what they think intimidate and torment means.”
Have you ever been a victim of cyberbullying?