There is legislation
that protects individuals from face-to-face harassment,
and that protection
should extend to users of
Any source of communication that
displays any type
of hatred, anger or
abuse is offensive ...
some type of action should
be established to prevent [it].
PHOTODISC/CHRIS A RUSNAK
Bullying in schools
should be dealt with
by the school district,
but outside of school,
it should be dealt
with by a higher authority.
Is legislation the right way
to deal with cyberbullies?
CYBERBULLYING is defined in a proposed federal bill as behavior “caus-
ing substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means [such
as cellphones or the Internet] to support severe, repeated and hostile
behavior.” If passed, the bill would make cyberbullying a criminal offense.
A host of states have already passed laws requiring school districts to
develop policies regarding cyberbullying detection and punishment.
Supporters of this legislation say that being bullied on- or offline can be
psychologically devastating to the victims. They add that cyberbullying
can be worse than face-to-face bullying, as the audience is bigger.
Critics argue that there’s no right to be free of verbal mistreatment from
another person, and schools should not be required to investigate students
for what they text or write on their own time away from school. They
believe the problem should be tackled through practical measures, not leg-
islative ones. What do you think?
Carol Stream, IL
Even good govern-
ment is no replace-
ment for good par-
enting. An education
that teaches actions
have consequences would
solve this problem.
There needs to be so
much caution with
what is criminal. The
government is not
always the answer
to every issue.
Find out more about this topic on the Web:
Schools need to take
an active approach
to teaching children
about bullying, and
parents should moni-
tor their kids’ online activities.