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Ashley Adamo Computers, an Introduction Mrs.

Norris, Period 1 Limiting Students Online Speech

How free and enabled are students online? Technology such as cell phones, texting, email and Facebook, has changed communication. As a result, online bullying has become a problem for some schools. Should schools ne allowed to restrict and use consequences based on what students say through texting and on the internet? Because students use technology to bully others at school, schools should limit students online speech. Reasons include the belief that cyberbullying is a widespread problem, disruptive to learning and classroom environments, and finally, it violates civil rights. One reason why schools should limit students online speech is because bullying through the internet is a widespread problem that affects both teachers and students. Referring to a graph presented by Sameer Hinduja and Justin Pachin of Cyberbullying Research Center on February of 2010, 25% of girls and 17% of boys have been cyber bullied in their lifetime and it would be fantastic to see those numbers decrease. Even a Joint ATL and Teacher Support Network Press Release survey in London, UK, shows that 15% of surveyed teachers have been cyber bullied with very negative effects, such as reduced confidence and self-esteem. Although some say these numbers arent very high, they still have a very high effect on people. Schools limiting what students say online could help reduce cyberbullying and also the effect it has on teachers, students, and the learning environment. Another reason why schools should limit students online speech is because it is often disruptive to their learning environment. According to a court case, J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, held on June 13, 2011, a MySpace profile was created to make fun of a middle school principal, James McGonigle. The School District even had to confirm that there was many times that this profile would disrupt class as teacher would have to quiet down the class of these rumblings and loud discussions regarding the profile. Also, in the court case,

Ashley Adamo Computers, an Introduction Mrs. Norris, Period 1 K.K. v. Berkley County School from the United States Court of Appeals, held on July of 2011, a student was being cyber bullied by another student through a MySpace page. The victim then filed a harassment complaint at school against the bully; whose punishment ended up being suspension, disrupting her learning by not being allowed to participate in school activities. Still, people assume that cyberbullying doesnt disrupt the learning environment at all, but it does. Students continuously disrupting class time just to talk about what happened online is not permitted. The final and best reason why schools should limit students online speech is because; cyberbullying is inappropriate and frequently violates civil rights. According a United States Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Russalyn Ali, in a 2010 letter to administrators, harassment and cyberbullying create a hostile learning environment when it is based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability it violates the civil rights laws that OCR (the Office of Civil Rights) enforces. Ali also states in her letter that a school is responsible for addressing harassment incidents on their own. In the political cartoon by artist Jimmy Margulies presented in The Record in New Jersey on October 1, 2012, cyber bullying can affect a teacher more that you think. Even though the bully may not physically take anything, he is emotionally stealing the confidence and self-esteem of any victim. Some people say that limiting students online speech is against the law: as free speech is a part of the Constitution, but once it violates civil rights, the Constitution is no concern. Harassing someone because of race, color, national origin, sex, or disability is violating civil rights laws and will have consequences anyways. There are some who argue that schools should not limit students online speech. Reasons they may state include the idea that online bullying is not as widespread of a problem as many believe, it isnt abnormally disruptive to classroom environment, and finally, limiting online speech is prohibited because their free speech is protected by the United States Constitution. However, the fact that many

Ashley Adamo Computers, an Introduction Mrs. Norris, Period 1 students are irresponsible with technology and often use it to bully others is problematic enough to justify schools limiting students online speech.