“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.
Chapter 1: Untangling the Confusion Involving Public School Censorship
Untangling the Confusion Involving Public School Censorship
The First Amendment provides that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” Public school students do not lose this right when they walk through the schoolyard gates. Students possess freedom of expression when they are in the cafeteria, on the playground, and at school-sponsored events. Freedom of speech includes the right to express opinions even on controversial topics. Although repugnant to society's norms, rude, obnoxious, and sometimes hurtful comments are also allowed by freedom of speech. The dilemma is where the line is between when students have the right to speak and when they do not.
No one believes students automatically possess unlimited First Amendment rights in public schools. ...