May 19, 2010
School yard bullying has been around for ages. However, with the advances in technology and the resulting social media, new forms of bullying have emerged. Bullying is now occurring via the Internet on Facebook and MySpace, and texting. Some extreme cases of bullying have resulted in teen suicide in recent months. A 15 year old immigrant from Ireland, who was attending a Massachusetts High School , committed suicide after being relentlessly humiliated and bullied by nine class-mates. She was subjected to both verbal harassment and threatened physical abuse.
A Massachusetts District Attorney filed charges against the offending teens. The charges range from criminal harassment and civil rights violations to stalking and statutory rape. These cases are rarely prosecuted, making this a watershed case.
Massachusetts is very close to passing a new anti-bullying law. To view the bill under consideration, go to MA-BILLTXT and type BULLYING in the Bill Name box.
Forty-one states already have some form of anti-bullying legislation or have just recently passed it:
RECENTLY PASSED LEGISLATION
The question on whether school officials should be held liable for injuries to students resulting from bullying done on school grounds is also being considered. To read more about this topic, go to the ALLNEWS database and run the following search:
TI,SU(BULLY! CYBER-BULLY! & SUICID!) & SCHOOL /S LIABLE LIABILITY SUIT LAW-SUIT LITIGAT!)
In WestlawNext, running a plain language search for BULLYING AND SUICIDE returns an interesting secondary source article: 111 Am. Jur. Trials 123 – Public School District Liability for Injury or Damage to Student Resulting from Bullying or Other Nonsexual Harassment by Another Student.