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Tougher Cyber Bullying Laws If We Want To Stop “Bullycide”

At the end of 2011 there were still very few cyberbullying laws on the books, anywhere in the United States. Of course the issue with these types of laws always comes down to our First Amendment Right to freedom of speech. But in dragging out feet to protect freedom of speech we’re allowing innocent kids to literally perish at the hands of cyberbullies who know the actions will go unpunished.

Right now, as it stands, those states that do have any laws against cyberbullying will only charge offenders with an unclassified misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of only $1,000 or a year in jail. When you consider the fact that in 2010 there were 34 children in the United States who committed suicide as a direct result of cyberbullying, that small $1000 fine is an egregious insult. And since most cyber bullies are minors, the punishments will be even less.

Current proposals before state legislatures call for a broader definition of cyberbullying or a broader definition of bullycide. On the other side of the coin they’re asking for narrower definitions so they don’t step on anyone’s right to free speech.

And therein lies the problem, really. It took years for states and the federal government to come to terms they could all agree on in relationship to hate crimes. We can’t afford that wait when the victims of cyberbullies are our children. We need to act now.

A lot of this harassment occurs on sites like Facebook. No. Let’s not use the word ‘Like’. That’s too passive-aggressive. Let’s point fingers here and say – Most of this cyberbullying that’s resulting in bullycide is occurring on Facebook. While Facebook has taken measures to try to detect and eliminate cyberbullying it still has a long way to go.

As parents, we need to be pro-active. We can’t wait for the legal system to catch up. By then, how many more children will die?

We need to demand even stricter controls at Facebook. Facebook needs to accept responsibility for the monster they’ve created and put stronger controls in place – now. If it hurts Facebook’s pocketbook, so be it. Our children’s lives are at stake.

We need to talk to our children. In 2011 more than 1 million teenagers were harassed or threatened on Facebook. Yet only 1 in 6 of those teens let their parents know there was something going on. We need to let our children know that they can come to us the minute, the very MINUTE they receive that first harassing message. And we need to let them know that we will step in and do everything necessary to bring the cyberbully to justice.

As parents, we need to let our kids know that being the victim of a cyberbully isn’t something they need to feel embarrassed or guilty about and that it’s not their fault. Until stricter cyberbully laws are enacted we need to be the protective barrier between our children and the bully.

California Cyber Bullying Laws to Protect Your Children and Teens

Since home computer systems have grown so popular, there have been more men, women, and children that become the targeted victims of cyber bullying. This is an extremely frustrating and sometimes frightening problem that can quickly be solved when a reverse email look-up is performed by an experienced private investigator. The California cyber bullying laws that have been enacted can also be of great help to people that are experiencing this type of harassment.

The Education Code Sections 32260 through 32262, it simply refers to the partnership formed between Law Enforcement and Schools. This partnership is comprised of the Attorney General and the Superintendent providing instruction to students of the Public School System. This is a partnership that is commonly known as the Interagency School Safety Demonstration Act of 1985. As a form of protection of all students this is one of the California cyber bullying laws that consists of the following:

Policies and programs shall be put in place that is required to carry out Article 5 provisions, starting with Section 32280. The administrators of safe school programs, all activities, procedures, and training that are conducted in accordance with this chapter.The cooperation of other state and federal agencies of other states when it comes to the matter of safety in schools.While attending classes on any of the campuses of the California School System, it is the right of each and every student to be ensured that the campus will be peaceful, secure, and safe. Without each of these elements, it is practically impossible for students to benefit from the specific educational programs they are a part of. This is precisely why this chapter of the California Cyber bullying laws was developed.

Legislature’s intent is for the agencies that serve California’s youth, school districts, law enforcement agencies, and county offices of education to all work together. They are encouraged to create and use various types of programs of in-service training, interagency strategies, and different kinds of activities that are geared towards reducing issues with bullying and other problems that often occur within the school system. California cyber bullying laws in this section refer to bullying that occur with the use of various types of electronic devices. This would include home computer systems, mobile phones, pagers, home telephones, and video recorders.

If one of your children has been experiencing the trauma that cyber bullying can cause, you are urged to review the valuable information contained in the Education Code Sections 32260 through 32262 of the California cyber bullying laws. Another helpful step to put a halt to this type of situation would be to have a reverse email look-up performed by a professional private investigator.

Copyright (c) 2011 Opperman Investigations Inc.

Anti-Bullying Laws For Oregon Schools May Be Improved

As reported by Betsy Hammond in “The Oregonian,” the Oregon House Education Committee is calling for improvements in its school. They’re responding to the Oregon Healthy Teens Survey which stated that more than 40 percent of Oregon eighth-graders reported being subjected to name-calling, bullying or other harassment at school, with the highest rates among students of color, girls and gays.

The effort to strengthen the school anti-bullying and anti-harassment laws is necessary, good and overdue. However, they’re still missing key elements that will be necessary to stop school bullying and abuse.

The Committee recommends requiring all schools to have anti-bullying policies, making the policies public and designating a point person in each school for students and parents to turn to.

I think that to make anti-bullying policies effective you need much more than a wall-plaque containing a policy statement. You need: * Ground rules that specify real-world examples of harassment, bullying and abuse that will not be tolerated. * Guidelines of accepted behavior to resolve disputes without bullying. * A program containing real consequences to deal swiftly with bullying incidents. * Specific examples to show bystanders how they can stop bullying in its tracks. * Proactive administrators, teachers and staff.

Of course that takes training and education. The 40 percent of the students who reported being bullied and all of the others who weren’t willing to admit having been bullied would vote “Yes” to expending the money. It’s hard to learn or grow strong and straight when you’re being beaten down repeatedly.

In my experience, the most important factors in making anti-bullying efforts effective are proactive administrators, teachers and staff. They set the standards and create the culture. Administrators, who are willing to let victims suffer while they attempt to rehabilitate habitual bullies, actually create hot houses in which bullies thrive.

We need new laws because too many administrators are cowards. They’re afraid they’ll be sued by parents who want to protect their little terrorists. Therefore, we need to require administrators to act and also to protect them from suits when they do act.

Children must be taught not to bully the weak or different, primarily by parents, teachers and administrators if they’re going to learn to be more civilized.

True bullies will take empathy, kindness and tolerance as weakness. They’ll think we’re easy prey. It will encourage them, like sharks, to attack us more. Bullies will show you how far you need to go to stop them.

On an individual basis, parents must teach children how to face the real world in which they’ll meet bullies all their lives, even if the children are small and outnumbered. That’s independent of the type of bullying – cyber bullying, physical bullying or verbal harassment or abuse. Help your children get out of their previous comfort zones and stop bullies.

Sometimes, children can handle bullies by themselves, beginning with peaceful tactics and moving step-wise toward being more firm and eventually fighting to win. Or, depending on the situation, just get the fight over immediately. Most times, adult help is needed.

When children and teenagers learn how to stop bullies in their tracks, they will develop strength of character, determination, resilience and skill. They’ll need these qualities to succeed in the real-world.

In addition to professional experience, I learned practical, pragmatic methods growing up in New York City and then watching our six children and their friends and enemies. And we live in Denver, home of Columbine High School.