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Florida lawmakers give schools more leeway to deal with cyberbullying

School leaders often have said their hands are tied when confronted with complaints of students bullying one another online outside of school.

The Florida Senate on Monday unanimously approved legislation that would give schools more power to deal with cyberbullying, regardless of where it takes place.

HB 609, which passed the House unanimously nearly four weeks ago, extends a school's reach to deal with bullying activities that happen away from campus if they disrupt learning or school operations. The language, which next heads to the governor, prohibits:

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"Through the use of data or computer software that is accessed at a nonschool-related location, activity, function, or program or through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by a school district or school, if the bullying substantially interferes with or limits the victim's ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school or substantially disrupts the education process or orderly operation of a school. This paragraph does not require a school to staff or monitor any nonschool-related activity, function, or program."

The Senate set aside its own version of the bill for the House plan. There have been some questions as to how far the schools can go in dealing with off-campus cyberbullying. Does this measure provide a happy medium? Or does it overstep?