Banning cyberbullies

Cyberbullying at school or during school activities will be banned for California students starting Jan. 1.

The law gives school administrators the leverage to suspend or expel students for bullying other students by means of an electronic device such as a mobile phone or on an Internet social networking site like MySpace or Facebook . . .

I’d guess most cyberbullying takes place at home, but perhaps it will help to tell students that online cruelty is against the law.

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  1. I’d guess most cyberbullying takes place at home

    Some does, of course, but you’d be surprised how much takes place at school.

  2. Bullying by phone? Whatever happened to “sticks and stones”?

    Anyway, if bullying is a problem, why does it matter what medium it takes place through? Wouldn’t existing rules against bullying (assuming there are some) apply? This is like having a rule making it illegal to punch another student in the nose *while wearing gloves*.

  3. “Whatever happened to sticks and stones?” Here’s the problem with bullying “by phone.” When I was in school, rumors, etc. were spread one whisper to one ear at a time. They were just sticks and stones. These days, a text message goes out to 100’s of students at a time. A reputation is destroyed on the internet for the whole world to see. Cyberspace turns the sticks and stones into WMD’s.

    A once popular teen I care very much about was “cyberbullied” out of public school and into private school after being the witness of a crime committed by a popular athlete. The word “snitch” was TM’d to hundreds of students at TWO local public high schools within hours. This student was no longer safe, physically or emotionally. Adults who don’t have teens at home need to wake up and realize what a big deal this really is.

  4. Did Oprah have something to do with this?

  5. Andy Freeman says:

    What happens if the bully and the victim attend different schools?

  6. Wahoo5,
    Absolutely. Too many people treat the internet as if it’s this magic land where no existing rules can be applied, and which is always a special case. It’s not, even if sometimes it is different.

  7. Thanks for the post.

    I’m glad some states and individual school districts are making laws to protect children from bullies and bullying.

    We need new laws because so many administrators are cowards. They’re afraid they’ll be sued by parents who want to protect their little terrorists. Therefore, we need to required administrators to act and also to protect them from suits when they do act.

    The amount of bullying allowed in a school is completely dependent on the administration and teachers. And I’m from Denver and know Columbine High School very well.

    Topeka, Kansas is also requiring its school districts to develop plans to stop cyberbullying [ and

    There’s also a recent case in Barcelona, Spain where a court held the school and the administrators responsible and liable for physical bullying on their premises []. When children are in their care, adults must be responsible. Two years is a long time to allow a gang of terrorists to rule. Obviously, the same lesson is relevant to our adult society.

    On an individual basis, parents must teach children how to face the real world in which they’ll meet bullies all their lives, even if the children are small and outnumbered. That’s independent of the type of bullying – cyberbullies, physical bullying or verbal harassment or abuse.

    Sometimes, a child can handle a bully by himself, beginning with peaceful tactics and moving step-wise toward being more firm and eventually fighting to win. Or, depending on the situation, just get the fight over with the first time. Other times, adult help is needed.

    As I show in my books of case studies, “How to Stop Bullies in their Tracks and “Parenting Bully-Proof Kids,” bullies are not all the same, but their patterns of behavior, their tactics, are the same. That’s why we can find ways to stop most of them.

    Most children will naturally bully the weak or different. They must be taught, primarily by parents, if they’re going to learn to be more civilized. In addition to professional experience, I learned practical, pragmatic methods growing up in New York City and then watching our six children and their friends and enemies.

    True bullies will take empathy, kindness and tolerance as weakness. They’ll think we’re easy prey. It will encourage them, like sharks, to attack us more. Bullies will show you how far you need to go to stop them. Get out of your comfort zone and stop them.

    When children learn how to stop bullies in their tracks, they will develop strength of character, determination, resilience and skill. They’ll need these qualities to succeed in the real-world.

    Please examine my website and blog (

    Best wishes,


  1. […] recent examples: * In her blog post, “Banning Cyberbullies,” Joanne Jacobs reports that in California, cyberbullying at school or during school activities […]