Fri April 27, 2012
Delaware Bill Aims To Delete 'Cyberbullying' From Schools
Delaware students who ‘cyberbully’ may not be able to hide on the Internet for much longer.
On Thursday, the Senate OK’D Senate Bill 193 calling for the State Department of Education to adopt a uniform statewide cyberbullying policy.
Newark Senator David Sokola (D-Del.) sponsored the bill, which also allows Attorney General Beau Biden’s office to work with the State Department of Education to draft policy and protect schools that may be hit with a lawsuit-on the grounds of denying free speech.
Sokola said the Attorney General’s office is prepared for a fight.
“The state has their back if they adopt and enforce, and are consistent with respect to [the bill],” Sokola said. “The Attorney General’s office knows that they’re going to have a real challenge with issues relating to free speech, off campus speech and how they impact schools.”
Once the policy is finalized, Delaware public schools would impose the policies through administrative rules. The Attorney General would step in and assist schools that adopt word-for-word copies of the policies if they are challenged in court, which Sokola said has happened.
“At least one school district had adopted a cyberbullying policy and in its attempt to implement it, they were threatened with lawsuits and were not confident, so they rescinded their policy because they were concerned about the legal expense,” the Senator said. ”This particular policy would commit the Attorney General’s Office to defend policies that are consistent with policy that’s adopted by the State Department of Education.”
The bill now heads to the House for consideration.