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Freedom of Speech in the Era of Cyber Bullying

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Freedom of Speech in the Era of Cyber Bullying

As we are living in the age of technology, we are seeing our youth being victimized by a new phenomenon of bullying, called cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined as the use of information and communication technologies such as email, cell phones and pager text messages, instant messaging, defamatory personal Web sites, and defamatory online personal polling Web sites, to support deliberate repeated and hostile behavior by an individual or group, which is intended to harm others. Cyberbullying can also employ media such as PDAs, blogs, and social networks (Beckstrom, 2008). This form of bullying is progressive because it can happen instantly due to the technology involved, whereas traditional bullying tends to take longer to evolve and happens
over an extended period of time. Since the Ryan Halligan case in 2003, there has been a string of cyberbullying suicides which have made states and school districts react by imposing policies to deter and essentially criminalize cyberbullying which happens on and off campus. The issue at hand is whether state legislature and school districts enacting laws and policies regarding students’ speech in terms of off campus cyber speech, is interfering with the students’ free speech rights. Three Supreme Court cases have been cited in recent cyberbullying cases, in the context of the speech of students and the authority of the school district; Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969), Bethel v. Fraser (1986), Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988).
Prior to technological advances that enhance our personal communication, there were three landmark Supreme Court cases that regulated students’ speech and the schools ...


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...g fact sheet: a brief review of relevant legal and policy issues. Retrieved from www.cyberbullying.us
5. Newcomb, A. (2013, October 15). Teen charged in fatal cyberbullying case of rebecca
sedwick to remain in jail. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/US/teen-charged-fatal-cyberbullying-case-rebecca-sedwick-remain/story?id=20580689
6. NG, C. (2012, May 01). Georgia teen sues cyberbullying classmates. Retrieved from
http://abcnews.go.com/US/georgia-teen-alex-boston-sues-cyberbullying-classmates/story?id=16251586
7. Teicher Khadroo, S. (2010, April 1). Phoebe prince case a 'watershed' in fight against school bullying. The Christian Science Monitor, 1-2.
8. Willard, M.S., J.D., N. (2007, March). Cyberbullying legislations and school policies: where are the boundaries of the "schoolhouse gate" in the new virtual world? Retrieved from http://cyberbully.org



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