Posted on May 28, 2010 in Personal Injury
Gov. Sonny Purdue signed Georgia Senate Bill 250 on May 27, 2010, which strengthens Georgia’s public policy against student bullying.
The new law, now at O.C.G.A. Section 20-2-751.4, expands the definition of bullying to include bullying "by use of data or software that is accessed through a computer, computer system, computer network, or other electronic technology of a local school system." That triggers a response to cyber bullying. Toward that end, bullying includes "Any intentional written, verbal, or physical act, which a reasonable person would perceive as being intended to threaten, harass, or intimidate" so long as it, among other things, "has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education."
The question is whether the law includes cyber bullying that occurs off campus but is brought on campus by means of, for example, off-campus text messaging blasts to multiple students on campus, or which are brought on campus. Or whether the law includes cyber bullying that does not originate from the local school system’s computer network, but rather from a student’s private computer, smart phone, etc.
The law is a step forward. It expands the definition of bullying to include non-physical bullying. I’ll review more of the law in the next post.