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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

School cyberbullying law takes effect Jan. 1

School cyberbullying law takes effect Jan. 1

Joe Nelson, Staff Writer

Posted: 12/21/2008 02:42:14 PM PST


A new law aimed at deterring the proliferation of cyberbullying at public schools goes into effect Jan. 1, bolstering educators' ability to tackle the problem head-on.


The law gives school administrators the leverage to suspend or expel students for bullying other students by means of an electronic device such as a mobile phone or on an Internet social networking site like MySpace or Facebook; the law, however, only applies to bullying that occurs during school hours or during a school-related activity.


The new law also incorporates the term "cyberbullying" into the lexicon of the California Education Code, which better equips school and law enforcement officials to educate students and parents on the issue.


California is one of only two states in the U.S., the other being Arkansas, that has passed legislation specifically addressing cyberbullying in its education code, said Assemblyman Ted Lieu (D-El Segundo), who authored the proposed legislation, Assembly Bill 86, signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sept. 30.


"We hope that other states copy this law," Lieu said.


"(Cyberbullying) is a growing problem."


Educators and law enforcement officials have taken aggressive steps to address the dilemma of cyberbullying and its potential deadly consequences.


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