In this digital age, the law has to keep up with cyber offenders. In Florida, Collier County School Board members are in the mulling over the latest legislations required by the state – a policy to implement sanctions based on cyberbullying.
According to the Florida state legislation, a student may still be a victim of cyberbullying even if the incident happened off-campus or even if the medium used was not a property of the school (e.g. the student’s personal laptop) as long as the incident has such an effect on the victim as if the bullying were done in person.
This raised a number of questions among the Collier County School Board members. Where do they draw the line? Should they start inspecting home computers? Should they begin to monitor every student’s social media websites and blogs?
Aside from the possibility of how the cyberbullying was carried out, another question this new legislation imposes is how would the “effect on the victim” will be measured, and when would the incident be described as if “it was carried out in person”. Rachel Dawes, Collier County School’s Director of Student Relationship, offers a review of several categories, for instance, if the incident demonstrates an imbalance of power between aggressor and victim, if the incident happened once or persistently over a range of period, or if the student is traumatized or humiliated.
A vote will take place on March 11th, at the earliest, to decide the final changes to this policy. Collier County School Board members will definitely have their hands full.