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Electronic Expression

Freedom of Speech
EDA 710 Renee Criddle Sandra Higgins Mike Jeansen Tina Mozingo

The Issue
Out of concern for student safety, more schools are feeling a need to respond to actions of electronic expression. This is occurring at every level and is having some legal ramifications. These electronic expressions can often result in severe campus disruption and even injury to a student. Administrators must know what the law says when it comes to dealing with and punishing students for what happens off campus.

What is Electronic Expression?


Whether by phone through text, photos or speaking, or by computer through email, social networks, blogs, online chatting or online courses, electronic expression is a platform for human expression, social interaction, communication, and education.

Rationale for Selection


The relevance of this issue to current school leaders is becoming increasingly important as the prevalence of communication by electronic means continues to increase.

Why do leaders need legal expertise regarding intervention in response to offcampus behavior, in particular, on-line expression? Many educators are concerned that if administrators assert authority over offcampus conduct and expression, that intervention would then result not only in a violation of the First Amendment Freedom of Speech, but in an assumption of liability.

Renee Criddle

STUDENT TO TEACHER INTERACTION

Legal Issues
Freedom of Speech The right to express one's ideas and opinions freely through speech, writing, and other forms of communication but without deliberately causing harm to others character and/or reputation by false or misleading statements. Harassment A course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress in a person and serves no legitimate purpose. Assumption of Risk/Liability The plaintiff bears responsibility due to prior knowledge of the activity.

Case: J.S. v. Bethlehem Area School District


2002
Summary of Facts: In 1998, a middle school student created a website called Teacher Sux. He wrote offensive comments about his algebra teacher and his principal that included a picture of the teachers head with blood dripping. The teacher was so affected by the website that she had to take medical leave. After an investigation, the student was suspended for ten days on the basis that the student violated district policy by threatening and harassing a teacher and/or principal. The board then moved to have the student expelled. Question: Was the expulsion of the student legal? Holding: The Pennsylvania Supreme court, 6-0,upheld the schools decision because the website had created a substantial disruption at school. Relevance: The expulsion of the student being upheld by the court set a precedence for future cases.

Case: Killion v. Franklin Regional School District 2001

Summary of Facts: Zachariah Paul, a high school student angry about track team regulations, was suspended for 10 days for sending an email that contained a Top Ten List about the schools athletic director. The list made derogatory remarks about the directors appearance and made reference to his sex life. Copies of the email were passed out at school. Pauls mother filed suit citing that his First Amendment free speech rights had been violated. Question: Were the students First Amendment rights violated? Holding: A federal district court ruled in favor of the student citing that the school did not prove that the list created a major disruption at school and that the email was composed and sent off campus. Relevance: This case was involved all of the relevant legal issues including free speech rights and possible harassment.

Case: Layshock v. Hermitage School District


2008

Summary of Facts: Justin Layshock, a high school senior, created a mock profile on a MySpace page for his principal. The fake profile made reference to the principal smoking marijuana and keeping a keg of beer behind his desk, however, the website was not obscene. Layshock was suspended for 10 days and then sent to the alternative school. The ACLU sued the school district, the superintendant, and the principal. Question: Was the right of free speech violated? Holding: Pennsylvania federal district court found that the students off campus speech had not substantially disrupted the day-to-day operations at school nor did it materially cause a disruption in class and his free speech rights had been violated. Relevance: The court found in favor of the student in this case in reference to the right of free speech.

Article: Virtual Harassment: Women and Online Education


By: Julia Ferganchick-Neufang

Research has shown that female teachers in higher education are often targets for student aggression in the form of harassment. As higher education moves online in the form of internet courses, discussions, and email conversations, female instructors may be subjected to virtual harassment. Students who are afraid to speak up in face-to-face discussions have found the freedom of voice. Computer-mediated communication often takes place anonymously, speakers/writers may feel less responsibility toward their immediate audience and show less consideration.

Article: Turn Off That Phone


Legal responses to cell phones, cameras, and other electronic distractions
By: Dean Pickett and Christopher Thomas

Disrupting learning is a minimal problem as compared to some of the challenges presented by possession of cell phones at school. The cameras on the cell phones can transmit images of paper and people with or without their knowledge raising questions of privacy and rights. Cell phones have been used to document teacher behavior and even record them in the process of teaching. Sample policies listed range from very restrictive, allowing no phones on campus, to quite liberal, where students are allowed to not only possess , but to use them at school. The best defense is a carefully written policy.

Conclusion
The trend of the courts has been to rule in favor of the students with the determining factor being if the students expression has caused a major disruption at school and adversely effected the learning process. The decisions were based on the schools ability to prove the disruptions caused.
The school that will be better prepared to take action and defend themselves when intervening in these type situations should have in place: A policy that clearly states what conduct will result in parents and students being notified. Documentation of the disturbances created by the communication should be kept and very detailed. Legal counsel to consult for guidance before proceeding in intervening in a situation, which although it took place offcampus, has or will cause a significant disruption on campus. A written listing of the disciplinary options for ensuring school safety and minimizing overreaction.

Tina Mozingo

STUDENT TO STUDENT INTERACTION

Legal Issues
First Amendments Rights Tinker (1967) Standard: substantial disruption of the school environment an invasion of the rights of others. Frazure (1986) Standard: -Officials had an interest in protecting their young students from exposure to vulgar and offensive language Hazelwood (1988)Standard: educators may exercise editorial control over the style and content of student speech

JC v Beverly Hills Unified School District


2010
Summary: A student video taped an off campus conversation between two students and posted it on YouTube. The student was suspended for causing a disruption at school. Question: Did the school violate the students' First Amendment freedom of expression? Did this event meet Tinkers substantial disruption test? Holding: The plaintiff won the case because the event did not meet Tinkers substantial disruption test. The administrator did not have to pay monetary damages because he qualified for immunity. Relevance: Administrators district policy makers need to be aware of the Tinker substantial disruption test.

Miller v. Skumanick
2009
Summary: Tunkhannock School District in Pennsylvania found students using cell phones to send nude and seminude photos to one another. Schumanick, the county district attorney, gave students the option to counseling sessions. Three students opted out of counseling and sued the district. Question: Did the school violate the students' First Amendment freedom of expression and the parents' Fourteenth Amendment liberty of child rearing? Holding: The plaintiff won the case because students did not violate the rule according to the definition of pornography in Pennsylvania. Relevance: Administrators need to know the definitions per the law of their state.

Article: All a Twitter about Sexting


By: Zirkel, P. A

2009

Zirkel wrote an extensive timeline for the Miller v Schumanick. The court addressed the three criteria for plaintiffs claim: 1. Was the activity constitutionally protected? 2. Did government respond in retaliation? 3. Was the protected activity the cause of the retaliation? Zirkel draws these conclusions: o Administrators need to know what their state statutes are defining child pornography BEFORE charging students. o "One size fits all" discipline does not work. Each case has to be dealt with on an individual basis.

Article: Sexting: A Response to Prosecuting Those Growing Up With A Growing Trend


By: Jordan J. Szymialis

2010

Szymialis believes: States should deter sexting because it is in a states interest to ensure that sexual images depicting minors do not proliferate as the Internet and cell phone communications continue to advance. Teenagers, who are by nature exploring their sexuality, should not face the life-altering prospect of ending up on a sex offender registry for an ill-advised, hormone-driven mistake. Great article citing available case law as of 2011.

Smart Phones, Social Networking, Sexting and Problematic Sexual Behaviors-A Call for Research
By: Weiss & Samenow

2010 According to Cooper, Delmonico, & Burg, (2000) there is a growing segment of the population that suffers from problematic sexual behavior due to the instant connectivity provided by social networks and smart cell phones.

Article: School Response to Cyber-Bullying and Sexting: The Legal Issues

2011

Mary Willard studied case law and submitted the following suggestions: School officials have the authority to respond to off-campus if it is a matter of student safety. School officials have the authority and responsibility to respond to anything created and sent through the school internet or network systems. Reasonable suspicion is all administrators need to search a student's cell phone.

Administrators need to know: Courts have consistently ruled in favor of students because school officials have not followed state statues and case law. Schools need a current Acceptable Use Policy. Needs to be familiar with Tinker substantial disruption test. Reasonable suspicion is all administrators need to search a student's cell phone. Schools are responsible for information transmitted on school network.

Sandra Higgins

TEACHER TO STUDENT INTERACTION

Background Information
Pickering v. Board of Education,1968 Connick v. Myers,1983 Garcetti v. Ceballos, 2006

Connick and Garcetti restricted Pickering to a point where presently little protection is provided to educators on Internet Social Networking sites.

(University of Dayton Law Review, 2010)

The Legal Issues


Although public school teachers are protected under the First Amendment, they are often held to a higher moral standard by the surrounding communities. The majority of state teaching licenses contain moral codes that teachers must follow.

(Duke Law & Technology Review, 2010)

Test for First Amendment Protection


Court decisions have discussed a process to determine whether a teachers speech enjoys First Amendment Protection: The speech was on a matter of public concern The interest of the teacher must be balanced against the interest of the state as employer in rendering a public service through its employees.

(School Law: Cases and Concepts / chapter 4: page 167)

Case: Spanierman v. Hughes


2008
Summary of Facts: Jeffrey Spanierman, an English teacher at a

high school in Connecticut, communicated with students through his MySpace page about homework, to learn more about the students, and to conduct casual, non-school related discussions. After investigating the teacher's online profiles on a website and granting the teacher a hearing regarding his profiles, the school officials decided not to renew the teacher's contract. Question: Was the teachers Freedom of Speech right violated ? Holding: The court held that the teacher's freedom of speech claim failed because there was no causal connection between the decision not to renew the teacher's contract and a poem expressing the teacher's political views. The school officials would have taken the same adverse action in the absence of the poem given that the teacher's unprofessional interactions with students through the teacher's online profile was disruptive to school activities.

Relevance: This case follows a trend where professional discipline or termination results from teachers use of social networking websites.

Case: Stacy Snyder v. Millersville University


2008
Summary of Facts: Stacy Snyder was dropped from the studentteaching portion of her course work after the staff at the high school where she was student-teaching viewed postings they felt were inappropriate on her MySpace. Stacy could not complete her required hours of student teaching because she was not allowed on the high school grounds, the university awarded her a degree in English rather than the degree and certificate in teaching. Snyder contends that because she was enrolled at Millersville University, and because her MySpace posting had academic consequences at MU, she was entitled to a student's First Amendment protections. Question: Was Snyder entitled to First Amendment protection? Holding: It was found that Snyder's role as a student teacher was akin to that of a public employee. Snyder was a student teacher who explicitly acknowledged in her MySpace posting that she was the "official teacher" of her students. If Snyders posting had touched on any matter of public concern, it would have been protected by the First Amendment. Snyders conceded at trial that her posting raised only personal matters. The courts ruled that the First Amendment does not protect public employees' purely personal speech. Relevance: When a public school educators posting on a social networking site is not a matter of public concern, that educator can be dismissed without the administration having a fear of constitutional violations.

Suggested Guidelines for Educators who use Social Networking Sites


Members should not post, do, say or write anything on a social network that they would not want to see on the front page of the local newspaper or would not say or do in front of students, parents, or the board of education. Members should not post material to their sites that may be considered inappropriate or unprofessional, including pictures and links. Members should monitor the content of their pages and remove anything inappropriate or questionable immediately. Members should not join and should end affiliations with sites that are unprofessional or inappropriate.
(University of Dayton Law Review, 2010)

Suggested Guidelines for Educators who use Social Networking Sites (continued)
Members should never post any information that would identify a student, and members should refrain from posting critical comments about students and school officials. Unfortunately, school employees do not have the same free speech rights as the general public, and the content and impact of some speech may subject members to discipline, including termination. Members should educate themselves about and take all appropriate precautions available on the social networking sites they are using. For example, pages should be marked private, and all requests to become friends should be approved by the member. A member should never grant access to his or her page without knowing the person making the request.
(University of Dayton Law Review, 2010)

Policies
The following are example of policies that could be adopted regarding the use of Internet social networking sites by all staff, including administrators, employees, substitute teachers, and student teachers:
1. Policies should clearly state that because content placed on social networking sites is accessible on district-owned computers and Internet connections, the school may thereby restrict the use of such sites to legitimate academic and administrative uses. 2. Policies should require all educators and other staff to sign forms indicating that they agree to abide by the terms of acceptable use policies when working on district-operated Internet systems. Such forms should also indicate that educators use social networking sites outside of the school at their own risk, meaning that educators can and will be punished for inappropriate content found on their websites.
(University of Dayton Law Review, 2010)

Policies (Continued)
3. Policies should specify that when it comes to district-owned and operated systems, educational officials have the right to install firewalls or filtering software that block access to social networking sites. Policies should remind student teachers . . . due to the professional duties they are assuming in schools . . .they, too, should avoid inappropriate postings . . . on social networking Web sites such as MySpace or Facebook. Policies should remind users that once they have made postings on the Internet, such postings can be easily retrieved. As such, users should be mindful of the content they post to Internet social networking sites. School boards should revisit policies annually in order to make sure they are up-to-date with changes in the law and Technology.

4.

5.

6.

(University of Dayton Law Review, 2010)

Conclusion
Educators must be reminded that while they do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate, they are held to a higher professional standard than many other public employees. Policies which bring these expectations to the forefront will provide adequate warning to educators that conduct below the heightened standard will result in consequences, possibly leading to termination from their position.
(University of Dayton Law Review, 2010)

Mike Jeansen

INAPPROPRIATE INDIVIDUAL CYBER CONDUCT

Case: Morrison v. Board of Education


1969
A. This U.S. Supreme Court Case articulated the factors relevant to a determination of a teachers unfitness to teach. Better known as the Morrison Criteria. B. These criteria have been used in cases as recent as 2011 [See: San Diego Unified School District v. Commission of Professional Competence (2011)]. The Morrison Criteria: 1.the likelihood that the conduct may have adversely affected students or fellow teachers [and] the degree of such adversity anticipated; 2.the proximity or remoteness in time of the conduct; 3.the type of teaching certificate held by the party involved; 4.the extenuating or aggravating circumstances, if any, surrounding the conduct; 5.the praiseworthiness or blameworthiness of the motives resulting in the conduct; 6.the likelihood of the recurrence of the questioned conduct; 7.the extent to which disciplinary action may inflict an adverse impact or chilling effect upon the constitutional rights of the teacher involved or other teachers. C. To establish a teacher unfit to teach, Morrison requires a nexus between government employment and alleged employee misconduct stemming from the principle that no person can be denied government employment because of factors unconnected with the responsibility of that employment.

Case: San Diego Unified School District v. Commission of Professional Competence 2011
Summary of Facts: A middle school teacher and dean of students posted a graphic, vulgar ad soliciting sex on Craigslist. The ad contained photos of the employees nude body and his face. The ad did not identify his name nor where he worked. It was on a page that prohibits viewing by persons under the age of 18. The school received an anonymous call reporting the ad. The school district dismissed the employee for evident unfitness to serve and immoral conduct. Holding: The court upheld the dismissal on the grounds named above by weighing in a few of the Morrison Criteria: nexus between conduct and ability to teach, and detrimental to the mission and functions of [his] employer. factor. The court also said the posting was vulgar, inappropriate and demonstrated a serious lapse in good judgment. Relevance for Teacher: The case serves as a cautionary tale to public school teachers that online conduct is often a public communication and school teachers may be held to a higher standard for their speech because of their position as a teacher and a role model. Relevance for Administration: 1. A school districts ability to lose confidence in a teacher (cyber speech) is a subjective standard. 2. To discipline a teacher solely on cyber speech may be an insufficient basis to dismiss a teacher on unfitness and moral conduct. 3. Each case stands alone and will need legal advice.

Case: Commonwealth of Virginia v. Ting Yi Oei


2009

Summary of Facts: Ting Yi OEI, an assistant principal, was charged with the felonious possession of child pornography. The Commonwealth contended that defendant possessed a photograph image of a student under the age of 18 years on his cell phone and on his computer. Defendant was also charged with two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor because it was alleged that defendant caused a student to transmit the photograph to his cell phone and to his computer. Question: Did the photo meet the definition of pornography in the state of Virginia? Were there laws in place to make sending the photo online a crime? Holding: The evidence did not meet the definition of pornography. The case was dismissed. Relevance: Administrators need to know the definition of pornography in their state.

Article: Cyber Misconduct, discipline and the law


Author: Gretchen Shipley

QUESTION ADDRESSED IN ARTICLE: When does a school district have jurisdiction to discipline a student or employee for cyber speech? SCHOOL TREND: Schools are moving from computer labs and prohibition of cell phones on campus to implementing policies to encourage digital citizenship throughout the school community. Challenge for Schools: Determining jurisdiction to discipline students or employee for cyber misconduct/cyber speech off-campus. CAUTION TO SCHOOLS: 1.Dont suspend unless you prove cause or foreseeable substantial disruption. 2.Seek other means: counseling, parent meetings, cease and desist orders, injunctive relief or referral to law enforcement. COURT TREND: Courts want to see substantial disruption. Courts seem to provide greater First Amendment protections to students than the teacher. 1. Example: J.C. v. Beverly Hills Unified Sch. Dist. (2010) YouTube 2. Example: J.S. v. Blue Mnt. Sch. Dist. (2011)MySpace Courts look at position and role model as factors with teachers/employee using Morrison factors of nexus between conduct and the school and nexus between conduct and ability to teach. 1.Example: San Diego Unified Sch. Dist. v. Com. of Prof. Competence (2011)Craigslist

Leadership, 2011, Sept/Oct Issue

Article: Missouri Repeals Law Limiting Teacher-Student Messaging


David A. Lieb

The Issue Addressed: State Legislatures forcing the issue with schools, in this state, to develop a more expansive technology/ electronic media policy due to rise of teacher abuse on students. Court Issue: The State Legislature's original law caused a judge to set a preliminary injunction against the law and warned that it infringed upon free-speech rights. It was going to limit certain electronic and social media tools outright (Facebook, closed websites, certain software, etc...) What's at Stake for Schools: The "new bill" introduced now includes the following.....
1. Each school district must develop their own policies on electronic media between employees and students in order to prevent improper communications. 2. In addition, individual schools would be required by law to share information with other school districts about teachers who have sexually abused students. 3. It allows for lawsuits in cases where the school districts fail to disclose such information and teachers later abuse someone.

Relevance: The challenge for schools across the country is to develop policies that prevent improper communications without also preventing appropriate online conversations.

Education Week: Vol. 31, No.10; Nov. 2, 2011

Final Conclusion
Inappropriate communication issues are a growing concern for school administrators. Administrators should be familiar with current and past cases dealing students First Amendment rights and electronic expression. School Districts need to carefully craft Acceptable Use Policies ensuring compliance with new case law, and should consult with the school board attorney to determine if the punishment can be legally justified and not a violation of a students First Amendment rights. Documentation of the disturbances created by the communication should be kept and very detailed. Teachers and staff need professional development to ensure staff knows their roles and limitations in electronic communication.

Annotated Bibliography
Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138 (1983) Myers filed suit contending that her employment was wrongfully terminated because she had exercised her constitutionally protected right of free speech. The Court in a 5-4 margin upheld Connick's firing of Myers, holding that her First Amendment rights had not been violated. Ferganchick-Neufang, J. (1998). Virtual Harassment: Women in On-Line Education. Composition Forum, 7(1) 1, p. 17-30. As higher education moves online in the form of internet courses, discussions, and email conversations, female instructors may be subjected to virtual harassment. Fulmer, E. (2010). Privacy Expectations and Protections for Teachers in the Internet Age. Duke Law & Technology Review, Rev. 014 This iBrief from Duke University School of Law addresses public educators use of social networking websites. Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006) The plaintiff in the case was a district attorney who claimed that he had been passed up for a promotion for criticizing the legitimacy of a warrant. The Court ruled, in a 5-4 decision, that because his statements were made pursuant to his position as a public employee, rather than as a private citizen, his speech had no First Amendment protection. JC v. Beverly Hills Unified School District, 711 F. Supp. 2d 1114 (2010) A student videotaped an off campus conversation between two students and posted it on YouTube. The student was suspended for causing a disruption at school. The plaintiff won the case. J.S. v. Bethlehem Area School District, 569 Pa. 638; 807 A.2d 847 (2002) A middle school student created a website called Teacher Sux on which he wrote insulting and offensive comments about his algebra teacher and his principal. The expulsion of the student being upheld by the court set precedence for future cases. Killion v. Franklin Regional School District, 136 F. Supp. 2d 446 (2001) A high school student angry about school rules and track team regulations was suspended for 10 days for sending an email that contained a Top Ten List about the schools athletic director. A federal district court ruled in favor of the student.

Annotated Bibliography
La Morte, M. (2011). School Law: Cases and Concepts. (10th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Allyn & Bacon. This textbook is a case-based approach to legal topics that gives educators a basic understanding of the legal aspects of their work. Layshock v. Hermitage School District, 650 F.3d 205; 2011 U.S. App. (2008) A high school senior, created a derogatory mock profile on a MySpace page for his principal. The court f ound in favor of the student in this case in reference to the right of free speech. Lieb, D.A. (2011). Missouri Repeals Law Limiting Teacher-Student Messaging, Education Week, Vol.31, No.10,10-11. The article points out how the rise in teacher cyber abuse as alarmed state legislatures to pass more stringent bills requiring school districts to rewrite their electronic and social media policies to be more encompassing and stricter in wording. Miller v. Skumanick, 605 F. Supp. 2d 634. (2010) Students using cell phones to send nude and semi-nude photos to one another. Schumanick, the county district attorney, gave students the option to counseling sessions. Three students opted out of counseling and sued the district. Morrison v. Board of Education, 461 P. 2d 375-Cal: Supreme Court (1969) This U.S. Supreme Court Case articulated the factors relevant to a determination of a teachers unfitness Nidiffer, P. (2010). Tinkering with Restrictions on Educator speech: Can School Boards Restrict what Educators Say on Social Networking Sites?. University of Dayton Law Review, 36(1), 115-142. This review addresses how the use of social networking sites by public school educators has created special concerns for school administrators. It also addresses whether school boards can restrict educators use of social networking sites a<er the school day ends and if this teacher violates teachers First Amendment rights. to teach. This has become known as the Morrison Criteria.

Annotated Bibliography
Pickering v. Board of Education, 391 U.S. 563 (1968) Pickering wrote a letter to a newspaper criticizing the board of educations allocation of funds between academics and athletics. The school board terminated the teacher. Pickering sued, claiming that the board violated his First Amendment rights by terminating him for exercising his right to freedom of speech. By a 8-1 vote, the Court held that school officials do violate the First Amendment when they terminate a public school teacher for speaking out as a citizen on matters of public concern. Pickett, D., Thomas, C. (2006). Turn Off That Phone: Legal responses to cell phones, cameras, and other electronic distractions. American School Board Journal, 193(4), p. 40-45 Disrupting learning is a minimal problem as compared to some of the challenges presented by possession of cell phones at school. This article discusses incidences of students using phones to record teachers and cheat on tests. San Diego Unified School District v. Commission on Professional Competence, 194 Cal. App. 4th 1454 (2011) A middle school teacher posted a graphic, vulgar ad soliciting sex on Craigslist. The school received an anonymous call reporting the ad. The school district dismissed the employee for evident unfitness to serve and immoral conduct. Court upheld dismissal by weighing in the Morrison Criteria. School Teacher and Administrator Licensure Act, MS HB 641, 037-0003-0002 (2011). (http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/ 2011/pdf/history/HB/HB0641.xml). Retrieved November 2, 2011. This web site lists the Mississippi House Bill 641 that was signed into law in July 2011. This act addressed sexual relations between educators and minors in schools; it made it mandatory that educators report these infractions to the Mississippi Department of Education; and also set the penalties for not reporting these types of cases. Shipley, G. (2011). Cyber Misconduct, discipline and the law, Leadership, 14-16. This article addresses a school districts jurisdiction to discipline a student or employee for cyber speech using current court cases to address substantial disruption and nexus between conduct and school.

Annotated Bibliography
Spanierman v. Hughes, 576 F. Supp. 2d 292. (D. Conn. 2008) Spanierman was accused of overly familiar contacts with students via his MySpace page that were deemed "disruptive to school activities." A federal court rejected a challenge brought by Spanierman when the public school at which he taught decided not to renew his contract. Snyder v. Millersville University, 2008 US Dist. LEXIS 97943 (ED Pa., Dec. 3, 2008) Stacy Snyder filed a federal lawsuit against the university alleging that she was denied a teaching certificate and education after inappropriate posting were viewed on her MySpace. A federal judge ruled against Snyder. Szynialis, J. J., (2010). Sexting: A response to prosecuting those growing up with a growing trend. Indiana Law Review, 44/1, p. 301-339. As the trend grows to prosecute teens harshly instead of giving much needed guidance during this developmental stage in their lives, states are scrambling to create new definitions and find the way to best deal with this new phenomenon. Weis, R. & Samenow, C.P. (2010). Smart phones, social networking, sexting and problematic sexual behaviors- A call for research. Sexual Addiction & Compulsively, 17:241246. DOI: 10.1080/10720162.2010.53207 According to Cooper, Delmonico, & Burg, (2000) there is a growing segment of the population that suffers from problematic sexual behavior due to the instant connectivity provided by social networks and smart cell phones. This article shares reasons of concern and calls for more research on this topic. Willard, N. (2011). School response to cyberbullying and sexting: The legal challenges. Brigham Young University Education & Law Journal, 2011/1, p. 75-125. The article used case law to address all aspects of cyberbullying and using cell phones in school are addressed in this article. Many references found in this article. Zirkel, P. A. (2009). All a twitter about sexting. Phi Delta Kappan, 91(2), 76-77. Zirkel breaks down Miller v. Skumanick, 605 F.Supp. 2d 634, using a detailed timeline of events. There is current and useful information relating to technology for teachers and educators.

Mississippi Law References


This mandates that sexual involvement between an educator and a minor in school illegal in Mississippi. New Mississippi Law 97-5-24. Lines 543-551: If any person eighteen years or older who is employed by any public school district or private school in this state is accused of fondling or having any type of sexual involvement with any child under the age of eighteen years who is enrolled in such school, the principal of such school and the superintendent of such school district shall timely notify the district attorney with jurisdiction where the school is located of such accusation, the Mississippi Department of Education and the Department of Human Services, provided that such accusation to the principal and to the school superintendent and that there is a reasonable basis to believe that such accusation is true.

Mississippi Law References


This assures teachers and administrators cant be prosecuted for reporting any wrong doing: Lines 554-561: Any superintendent, or his designee, who fails to make a report required by this section shall be subject to the penalties provided in Section 37-11-35. Any superintendent, principal, teacher or other school personnel participating in the making of a required report pursuant to this section or participating in any judicial proceeding resulting there from shall be presumed to be acting in good faith. Any person reporting in good faith shall be immune from any civil liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed.

Mississippi Law References


Penalties for not reporting sexual misconduct between teacher and student: Section 37-11-35, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows: If any person charged by Section 37-11-29 to make the reports therein provided for shall willfully fail, refuse or neglect to file any such report, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than One Thousand Dollars or be imprisoned not exceeding six months, or both. If any person charged by Section 97-5-24 to make the reports therein provided for shall willfully fail, refuse or neglect to file any such report, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than One Thousand Dollars or be imprisoned not exceeding six months, or both.