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Bullying & Cyberbullying

K Karen Haase H Harding & Shultz (402) 434-3000 khaase@hslegalfirm.com H & S School Law


Raise yyour hand if … You have a cell phone You use text messaging You’ve taken photos with a cell phone camera You’ve ever forwarded a message You Y h have a F Facebook, b k M MySpace S or Twitter account


What’s Wrong with Cell Phones?  Nothing! Cell phones are useful tools when used appropriately and with ggood jjudgment g


What’s Wrong with Facebook?  Again, Again nothing! Facebook is just like a cell phone – you have to use good j g judgment.


Inappropriate Uses of Cell Phones Texting during class/school Taking embarrassing photos Sending insulting angry or mean messages Cheatingg or lying y g Bullying Hurting other people’s feelings


Inappropriate Uses of Facebook Posting during class/school Posting embarrassing photos Writing insulting or mean posts about others Creating g a page p g that has the purpose of hurting someone Creating a fake profile


Bullying? “any any ongoing pattern of physical, verbal, or electronic abuse . . . .�


Simply stated, bullying: • •

• •

Is intimidating or subjecting a person to hostility or ill treatment Involves actions which cause another person to feel afraid, humiliated embarrassed, humiliated, embarrassed threatened or shamed Occurs in a relationship where there is an imbalance of power Is repeated over time


Is it bullying? Normal Conflict

Bullying

• Equal power/friends • Happens episodically • Accidental • Equal emotional reaction • Remorse • Effort to solve problem

• Imbalance of power • Repeated pattern of behavior • Intentional • Unequal U l emotional ti l reaction • Blames Bl ttargett • No effort to solve • Seeking power


Cyberbullying? Cyberbullying, v: the use of technology such as computers and cell phones to engage in repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others.


Common Cyberbullying Tactics  Stealing someone someone’ss online name and using it to write nasty rumors, comment, or spread gossip. i  Alteringg someone’s message g or doctoring photographs to say something different or make fun of a person.


Common Cyberbullying Tactics (con t) (con’t)

Secretly recording conversations using a cell phone, then playing the recording i back for f the person being i discussed. Posting damaging information on blogs or web sites sites. Creating or taking part in Internet polling or list-making


Cyberbullying y y g Example of cyberbullying b b ll i on iChat (Apple’s instant messaging) i )

Divagirl: Hey, loser, watch your back. t t323 What tmt323: Wh t r u talking about? Divagirl: Why don't you kill yourself while u r ahead? tmt323: Why can't you just leave me alone? Divagirl: Ugly girls like u need to be put in their place.


How Common is Cyberbullying? ďƒ˜ one in four students between the g of 11 and 19 have been the ages victim of cyberbullying. ďƒ˜ Approximately A i t l 65 percentt off kids kid know of someone who has been cyberbullied.


How Common is Cyberbullying?  18% of students in grades 6-8 said they had been cyberbullied at least once in the 2 months  6% said it happened 2 or more times  11% off students iin grades 6-8 6 8 said i y at least once in theyy had cyberbullied the last 2 months  2% said they had done it 2 or more times


How Common is Cyberbullying? ďƒ˜ Cyberbullying has increased dramatically in recent years. ďƒ˜ In nationally representative surveys of 10-17 year-olds, twice as many children and youth indicated they had been victims and perpetrators of online li harassment h t in i 2005 th than in1999/2000


So what’s what s the big deal?


School-Related Consequences  Neb. Rev. Stat. 79-2,137  Definition: “ongoing ongoing pattern of physical, verbal or electronic abuse”  Consequences: ─ Loss of extracurricular privileges ─ Detentions D t ti ─Short and Long Term Suspension ─Expulsion E li ─Alternative School Assignment


Examples p  Seattle, WA.: Students who “liked” Facebook page bullying a classmate p all suspended  Memphis TN: Honors student suspended for 180 days for commenting on a friend’s status


Civil Consequences  Student and parents can be sued • Suing for money; no jail time • Homeowners insurance often pays • Judgments can result in home f foreclosure l and d other h h hardship d hi  Suit can be for: • Intentional I i l infliction i fli i off emotional i l distress • Tortuous interference • Slander


Finkel v. Facebook (N.Y.)  High school students created private Facebook page about classmate • Called her a “slut” slut • Said she had AIDs • Said S id she h used dd drugs

 She sued Facebook and kids who created page  Facebook F b k di dismissed i d ffrom llawsuit; it students initially left in the case


Criminal Consequences (State Law)  Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-311.01  Terroristic Threats: “threatens to commit any crime of violence … • With the intent to terrorize another • In reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror  Class IV Felony punishable by: • Up to 5 years in prison and/or • $10,000 fine


Criminal Consequences (Federal Law)  Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. 1030)  Originally passed to criminalize cyberterrorism  Has been used to punish cyberbullies  Punishable by: • Up to 20 years in prison and/or • $100,000 $100 000 fine


What Belongs on Y Your Ph Phone or P Profile/Page? fil /P ?

Just ask your Grandma


The Grandma Rule:  If you wouldn’t’ show it to your photograph g p it! Grandma,, don’t p  If you wouldn’t write it to your Grandma don Grandma, don’tt text it!  If you wouldn’t tell you Grandma about it, it don’t post it!  If you wouldn’t say it to your Grandma, don’t call it!


Questions? (402) 499-0547 499 0547


Bullying -- Centennial Middle School