Students who make online threats can be suspended or expelled under a new Illinois state law, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
While examples of abusive behavior by students have multiplied across the nation and studies suggest half of all teens have been victimized by cyber-bullies, the law’s impetus came from an incident at Oswego High School six years ago, Illinois House minority leader Tom Cross said.
When an Oswego student posted an online diatribe against his teachers in 2005, vowing “I’m so angry I could kill,” leaders at School District 308 weren’t sure what they could do, SD 308 spokeswoman Kristine Liptrot said.
Since the threat was made outside school hours, away from school grounds from a private computer, they were concerned about interfering with the boy’s First Amendment rights and felt unable to suspend or expel the boy . . .
“I don’t think kids are getting any meaner,” Cross said. ”Thirty years ago, a bully might have said something in class — now they’ll say it on the Internet.”