Thursday, December 04, 2008

VA may tighten school bullying laws, including cyber issues

The DC Examiner, in a story by William C. Flook printed on p 20 today December 4 2008, reports in its “Virginia General Assembly” column that state representative David Englin (Democrat, Alexandria) wants to expand Virginia’s anti-bullying law to prohibit “intimidation” and “harassment” and particularly to protect students with disabilities.

Presumably the law would prohibit cyberbullying, even from home computers, and would prohibit bullying based on actual or perceived sexual orientation.

The Examiner story did not yet appear online.

The legislation may have been motivated in part by the Missouri Lori Drew case, in which state officials could not find that a law was broken, Ms Drew was convicted of federal misdemeanor charges, as reported earlier on this blog. Several other serious cases have occurred around the country, including one on Long Island, New York.

A website called “Bully Police” has an analysis of the current Virginia law here (original Virginia reference, based on the concept of "character education", is here), and also a column from Minnesota here. Here is another resource on cyberbullying that it gives.

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