Damned if you do, damned if you don’t files: “Cyber-bullying”

by Ted Frank on December 7, 2007

School districts have learned that they cannot discipline students for abusive Internet postings they make off-campus. Layshack v. Hermitage Area School District, No. 074465 (pending 3d Cir.); Dwyer v. OceanPort School District No. 03-6005 (D. N.J.) ($117,500 settlement to student suspended over web site). “Lawyers say school districts are in a legal quandary: If they punish a student for something they did off school grounds, they could get hit with a freedom of speech claim. If they do nothing, they could get hit with failure to act litigation.” (Tresa Baldas, “As ‘cyber-bullying’ grows, so do lawsuits”, National Law Journal, Dec. 10).

{ 2 comments }

1 Jim Collins 12.07.07 at 10:21 am

School Districts brought this on themselves. When I went to school the school’s responsibility for me stopped the instant I left school property. Now school districts try to govern every aspect od a student’s life both on and off campus. My niece just recieved a three day suspension for smoking. Now for the kicker. My niece is 18 years old and was smoking at the local mall on a Saturday afternoon. It seems that students are forced to sign a “Conduct Contract” in which they agree not to smoke, dring or do drugs. This “contract” is enforcable 24-7. A teacher saw her at the mall and turned her in. With crap like this going on I have very little sympathy for school districts.

2 Deoxy 12.07.07 at 1:42 pm

Exactly the intended effect! If there is a course of action available to you which does not result in litigation, well, how are the lawyers supposed to suck up all the wealth?

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