School Districts' Ability to Combat Cyberbullying Given A Boost By a New Law.
Effective January 1, 2009, the
California Education Code will be amended to explicitly authorize school
districts to suspend or expel students for bullying,
including cyberbullying. Under the new law, acts of bullying by using
the Internet (e.g., social networking sites, email), text-messaging, or
other electronic devices (including telephones) can be grounds of
Assembly Bill 86 defines bullying
as an act by a student or group of students directed specifically
against other students or school personnel that constitutes sexual
harassment, hate violence, or severe or pervasive intentional
harassment, threats, or intimidation that is disruptive, cause disorder,
and invades the rights of others by creating an intimidating or hostile
education environment. The definition includes acts that are committed
in-person or by electronic means.
While giving school districts officials the specific
authority to suspend or expel students for bulling, Assembly Bill 86
allows disciplinary action to be taken whether harassment is committed
physically, verbally, or electronically. School districts are still
required to show a nexus between student misconduct and "school activity
or school attendance."
Should you have any questions reguarding Assembly Bill 86 and its impact on any matter(s) in your district, please contact 323.330.6300.