• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This book describes the legal precedents involved in the discipline of students who engage in this type of behavior and provides a very helpful matrix for dealing with a sensitive cyber situation. I'd recommend this text for all administrators!

Jill Gildea, Superintendent

Fremont School District 79, Mundelein, IL


Education Talk Radio: 3/25/2011

What every school leader needs to know about cyber bullying and the law

A parent brings a cyber bullying incident to your attention and expects you to resolve it. What are the students' rights and your responsibilities according to the law? Because the laws regarding disciplinary action are still evolving, this manual fills the gap by providing public school leaders with data-driven solutions for managing cyber bullying incidents. The authors offer clear guidance for honoring free expression while providing a safe learning environment. Helpful tools include

“Top Ten Rules” for addressing cyber bullying; Strategies for documenting aggressive cyber situations; User-friendly legal tests for differentiating netiquette violations from First Amendment–protected expressions; The MATRIX, a rubric that provides efficient and clear decision-making guidelines for determining appropriate responses to cyber bullying incidents (also available online)

Relevant case studies give examples of schools' authority to regulate, censor, or sanction inappropriate cyber expression. Mistakes can be costly, and avoiding liability is key. This book shows you how to protect yourself, your school, and your students in accordance with the law.

Top Ten Rules That Govern School Authority over Student Cyber Expressions
Top ten rules that govern school authority over student cyber expressions

Although conflicting court decisions have surfaced and jurisdictional variations exist, the following general principles guiding cyber bullying situations have emerged from court precedent:

  • First Amendment provisions apply to public school students.
  • Censorship is permissible if the student expression reasonably suggests a substantial disruption to school activities.
  • Censorship is permissible if the student expression actually interferes with students’ rights to educational benefits or substantially detracts from the learning environment.
  • Lewd, vulgar, or profane language is inappropriate in a public educational environment.1
  • Reasonable regulations may be imposed with respect to the time, place, and manner of student expressions involving school property, school equipment, or school events.
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