SACRAMENTO, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- The author of California's new law on cyberbullying at school says it will enable educators to head off situations that could be spinning out of control.
Starting Jan. 1, school officials will have the authority to suspend or expel students who use the Internet or text messaging to pick on fellow students, the Sacramento (Calif.) Bee reported Sunday.
Assemblyman Ted Lieu said his measure will help prevent fights and psychological torment.
"You're dealing with some very fragile egos at these age levels," Lieu said. "Some people can be driven over the edge and do some horrible things."
The Bee said California school disciplinary codes currently are restricted to direct verbal or physical harassment. But many principals said schoolyard altercations often start with insults on FaceBook or sent by text message.
The measure received the support of the PTA and other education organizations as well as Microsoft, which called cyberbullying a "a threat to creating a safe online environment for children."