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Preventing Bullying

December 10, 2010 • Volume 20, Issue 43
Do anti-harassment laws violate students' rights?
By Thomas J. Billitteri

Introduction

Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover hanged himself (The Republican/Michael S. Gordon)
Eleven-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover hanged himself in April 2009 after bullies repeatedly called him gay; his death helped prompt Massachusetts to pass a strict anti-bullying law last spring. (The Republican/Michael S. Gordon)

Massachusetts high school student Phoebe Prince hanged herself after being bullied, and six classmates were charged in her death. Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi jumped to his death after two classmates allegedly used a webcam to secretly watch him during a gay dorm-room encounter, and the two were charged with invasion of privacy. Nearly half of high school students say they have been bullied in ways that seriously upset them, and researchers have found that bullying victims are more likely to try suicide than non-victims. States have been stepping up to the problem, with some 44 laws on the books, including some that allow school officials to take action against off-campus cyberbullying that causes disruption at school. But critics say some laws violate students' free-speech rights. School officials want clarity on what they can do. Until the Supreme Court weighs in, the law on bullying and cyberbullying will remain highly contentious.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Education Issues
Jun. 13, 2014  Dropout Rate
May 09, 2014  School Discipline
Mar. 07, 2014  Home Schooling
Dec. 02, 2011  Digital Education
Nov. 15, 2011  Expanding Higher Education
Dec. 10, 2010  Preventing BullyingUpdated
Apr. 16, 2010  Revising No Child Left Behind
Mar. 26, 2010  Teen Pregnancy
Sep. 04, 2009  Financial Literacy
Jun. 05, 2009  Student Rights
Feb. 22, 2008  Reading Crisis?
Jul. 13, 2007  Students Under Stress
Apr. 27, 2007  Fixing Urban SchoolsUpdated
Nov. 10, 2006  Video GamesUpdated
Mar. 03, 2006  AP and IB Programs
Oct. 07, 2005  Academic Freedom
Aug. 26, 2005  Evaluating Head Start
May 27, 2005  No Child Left Behind
Jan. 17, 2003  Home Schooling Debate
Sep. 06, 2002  Teaching Math and Science
Jun. 07, 2002  Grade Inflation
Dec. 07, 2001  Distance Learning
Apr. 20, 2001  Testing in Schools
May 14, 1999  National Education Standards
Apr. 10, 1998  Liberal Arts Education
Jul. 26, 1996  Attack on Public Schools
May 17, 1996  Year-Round Schools
Oct. 20, 1995  Networking the Classroom
Sep. 22, 1995  High School Sports
Jan. 20, 1995  Parents and Schools
Sep. 09, 1994  Home Schooling
Mar. 25, 1994  Private Management of Public Schools
Mar. 11, 1994  Education Standards
Apr. 09, 1993  Head Start
Nov. 30, 1990  Conflict Over Multicultural Education
Feb. 05, 1988  Preschool: Too Much Too Soon?
Oct. 23, 1987  Education Reform
Aug. 24, 1984  Status of the Schools
Sep. 10, 1982  Schoolbook Controversies
Sep. 03, 1982  Post-Sputnik Education
Aug. 18, 1978  Competency Tests
Jan. 26, 1972  Public School Financing
Nov. 03, 1971  Education for Jobs
Apr. 15, 1970  Reform of Public Schools
Aug. 27, 1969  Discipline in Public Schools
Dec. 27, 1968  Community Control of Public Schools
Jun. 14, 1965  Summer School Innovations
Oct. 28, 1964  Education of Slum Children
Jun. 05, 1963  Year-Round School
Mar. 28, 1962  Mentally Retarded Children
Dec. 17, 1958  Educational Testing
Sep. 25, 1957  Liberal Education
Jul. 11, 1956  Educational Exchange
Feb. 02, 1955  Federal Aid for School Construction
Mar. 07, 1951  Education in an Extended Emergency
Nov. 20, 1945  Postwar Public Education
Nov. 07, 1941  Standards of Education
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Bullying
Students and Social Life
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