No one is in favor of bullying, but is criminalizing children’s behavior the answer?
That’s what a new law just signed by Governor Brown – known as the cyber-bullying bill – does. It gives schools authority to discipline children as young as fourth grade for phone calls, texting and social media posts that occur apart from school activities, off-campus and not during the school day
That’s right, AB 256 makes a text message from one 10-year-old to another, over the weekend, grounds for expulsion.
Not surprisingly, the ACLU is opposed, as is the Association of California School Administrators. Principals and superintendents are concerned that they will be responsible for monitoring students’ activity on social media and making the call about whether it constitutes bullying.
Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm, is also opposed, noting that research is clear that punitive disciplinary approaches are ineffective at reducing student misbehavior [and] do not make schools safer.