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Cyberbullying Prevention Law An ADL Model Statute RULE Address Off-Campus Speech

Posted: May 20, 2009

Overview - About the Model Law
Adopt a Policy
Strong Definition
Address Off-Campus Speech
Give Notice
Report & Investigate
Establish Consequences & Provide Counseling
Require Training
State Involvement

Any new bullying prevention law must address cyberbullying originated off-campus which interferes with the school's educational mission. As a significant amount of cyberbullying is created on computers, cell phones and other devices that are not owned by the school, or are not located on school property, but still disrupt the school environment and the welfare of the students, it is important to ensure that schools are given adequate legal framework to address the issue. 

While courts nationwide are engaging in debates about balancing a student's right to free speech with another student's right to learn in a safe environment when dealing with electronic harassment, most courts agree that schools may discipline speech which results in a substantial disruption of the operation of the school.

Model bill language:

This policy will apply to an electronic communication whether or not this conduct originated on school property or with school equipment so long as:

(a) a reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, that the act will have the effect of harming a student or damaging the student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property; and has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students in such a way as to cause substantial disruption in, or substantial interference with, the orderly operation of the school; or

(b) the act is directed specifically at students and intended for the purpose of disrupting school, and has a high likelihood of succeeding in that purpose.

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Advocacy Toolkit (.pdf - 2.08 MB)
This accompanying Cyberbullying Prevention Statute Advocacy Toolkit includes ADL's Model Anti-Bullying Statute, general talking points in support of anti-bullying legislation, a specific section-by-section description of the ADL model policy, a compilation of the existing anti-bullying statutes, and examples of school Internet acceptable use policies.

Quick Print:
Cyberbullying Prevention Model Statute

ADL in Education:
Information on ADL's Cyberbullying Educational Community Workshops

ADL Comments on Justice Department Plan to Address Cyberbullying (01/12/10)
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