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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

What to do when students bully teachers

2

November

We've heard plenty about Florida schools' efforts to stop the bullying of students - a problem that's been underreported according to some.

But what about when students bully teachers? You know, making unfounded accusations against them, starting derogatory web sites and such.

North Carolina lawmakers think they have an answer. They're the first in the nation to make it illegal for a student to cyber-bully a teacher. The NC School Violence Prevention Act of 2012 makes it a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable with jail time or a fine, to build a fake profile of a teacher online, sign up a teacher for a pornographic website, or make statements  - whether true or false- that intend to provoke a third-party to stalk the teacher, among other actions.

Bill sponsor state Sen. Tommy Tucker has told reporters that the measure was needed because of the credence that people give to items posted online. But the law as written worried some civil rights activists. "It would chill free speech because people wouldn't know what speech, what online activity might actually violate the law," Sarah Preston, policy director for the ACLU of North Carolina, told Fox News in Charlotte.

Sounds like an issue that could cause a feisty debate here in Florida. Is it a necessary one?

[Last modified: Friday, November 2, 2012 10:01am]

    

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