Confronting Cyber-Bullying: What Schools Need to Know to Control Misconduct and Avoid Legal Consequences

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This book is directed to academics, educators, and government policy makers who are concerned about their legal obligations to address emerging cyber-bullying and anti-authority student online expression. The author spearheads an investigation into the extent of institutional legal obligations, as boundaries of student expression, supervision, and privacy in cyberspace become increasingly blurred. Cyber-bullying occurs outside of school hours and school grounds, on home computers and personal cell phones. Each chapter unpacks the legal considerations to address the litigious issues that confront educational policy makers. The author's review of a range of legal frameworks and judicial decisions includes:
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Any book entitled “Confronting Cyber-Bullying” would be welcomed eagerly by those to whom this volume is addressed…The subtitle – “What Schools Need to Know to Control Misconduct and Avoid Legal Consequences” – enhances that potential appeal…Shaheen Shariff’s book is not simply the only game in town at this still early stage; it also does something that has rarely been done in the field of cyber-law…timely and cogent scholarship…a most welcome innovation for those of us who savor the legal challenges of electronic and digital communication.”
--Robert O'Neil, Director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression and Professor of Law Emeritus and University Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia, First Amendment

" interesting overview of cyber-bullying from a legal perspective."
--Matthew L. Newman, PsycCRITIQUES

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521877237
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/12/2009
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Professor Shariff is an Associate Professor in the faculty of education at McGill University. Her publications include Censorship!...or...Selection?: Confronting a Curriculum of Orthodoxy through Pluralistic Models and Cyber-Bullying: Issues and Solutions for the School, the Classroom, and the Home.
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Table of Contents

Figures Page xi

Tables xiii

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xix

1 Cyber Misconduct: Who Is Lord of the Bullies? 1

Introduction 1

Peer Cyber-Bullying: A Lord of the Flies Syndrome? 3

Adults as Bullies 5

Antiauthority Cyber Expression 8

A Global Issue 12

Conclusion 13

Policy Guidelines 15

Legal Considerations 15

Tort Law 17

Constitutional Law: Freedom of Expression versus Safety and Privacy 17

Human and Civil Rights Jurisprudence: School Environment 18

2 Profile of Traditional and Cyber-Bullying 22

Introduction 22

What Is Bullying? 22

The Etymology of Bullying 24

Bullying or Teasing? 25

General Characteristics 27

Perpetrators and Targets 29

Types of Bullying 31

Changing Roles 35

Effects of Bullying 37

Bullying Today 38

Definitions of Cyber-Bullying 39

Characteristics of Cyber-Bullying 43

Online Social Communication Tools 45

Prevalence of Sexual and Homophobic Harassment 48

Intersecting Forms of Discrimination 52

Conclusion 52

3 Cyber Libel or Criminal Harassment: When Do Kids Cross the Line? 59

Introduction 59

Chinese Cultural Influences 62

Case 1 Modified Photographs of a Teacher 62

Case 2 and 3: Piggy and Little Fat Boy 64

Case 4 Ning's Sexual Harassment of a Teacher 64

Case 5 Internet Slander 65

Case 6 Cyber Vigilantism 66

Japan: Netto Ijime 66

Case 1 and 2 Female Perpetrators 67

Case 3 Flaming 67

Case 4 Pornographic Novel as Libel 67

Case 5 Physical Assault as Slander 68

Cultural Considerations: Ijime and Netto Ijime 68

Gakko Ura Saito: Mobile-Bullying 69

Ijime-jisatsu (Suicide Linked to Ijime) 70

South Korea 71

India 71

Tort Law: Cyber Libel,Defamation, and Slander 74

Kids' Perspective - Their Own Private Space 74

Case 1 Brad and His Online Friends 75

Case 2 Bram's Bad Joke 76

Case 3 Indiana Outrage 77

Cyber Libel: The Canadian Context 78

Cyber Libel: The U.S. Context 85

Negligence, Supervision, and Malpractice 88

Tort Law, Supervision, and Risk 92

4 Student Free Expression: Do the Schoolhouse Gates Extend to Cyberspace? 99

Introduction 99

Supervision: Does School Authority Apply in Cyberspace? 100

Exploring the Cyber Forest 101

Adult Mind-Sets and the Digital Disconnect 103

The Limitations of Mind-Set I 105

Freedom of Expression versus Safety and Privacy 109

Constitutional Considerations 114

Expression as "Material and Substantive Disruption" 116

Expression as "Disruption of Basic Educational Mission" 118

Nexus: Computers as School Property 121

Conclusion 124

5 Fostering Positive School Environments: Physical and Virtual 127

Introduction 127

Gendered Influence on Cyber-Bullying 129

Socialization 129

The Biology of Bullying 129

Gender Socialization Begins at Home 133

Female Gender Roles 134

Male Gender Roles 136

Human and Civil Rights Jurisprudence: School Environment 140

PEW Internet Study 142

Gender Differences 143

The Online Rumor Mill 143

Threats against Older Girls 144

Why Teens Engage in Cyber-Bullying 144

Homophobia 145

Montreal Research 145

Adult Perceptions 148

Opinions about Cyber-Bullying 148

Are Child Protection Laws Relevant to Cyber-Bullying? 152

6 Censoring Cyberspace: Can Kids Be Controlled? 159

Introduction 159

Teachers Shape Law and Sometimes Impede Learning 161

Teachers as Targets 162

What Drives the Urgency? 166

A Wall of Defense 167

Tacit Condoning of Peer-to-Peer Bullying 168

Parent versus Teen Cyber-Bullying 170

School Officials, School Reputations, and the "Official" Story 170

The Official Story 173

Selection or Censorship? 174

Parents as Censors 175

Government Influence 180

School Boards 181

Media Influence on Censorship and Positivist Laws 182

Reconceptualizing Law in Cyberspace 186

7 The Tragedy of the Commons: Lessons for Cyberspace? 190

Introduction 190

Law: A Question of Individual (Student) Decision Marking 192

Legal and Policy Responses: A Few Examples 195

Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA; H.R. 5319, 2006) 195

Educational Use of Technologies 198

Library Support for Online Education 199

European Union 200

Council of Europe 201

Council of Europe Draft Convention on Cyber Crime (2001, June 29) 201

Europe's Information Society: Public Consultation-Safer Internet and Online Technologies for Children 201

Safer Internet Plus Program 202

Legislation in France 203

Canadian Responses 203

British Responses 205

Back to the Drawing Board 209

8 Cyber Collaboration: Models for Critical Legal Pluralism in Teacher Education Programs 212

Introduction 212

A Typology of Laws: Comprehensive Legal Frameworks 214

A Critical Legal Literacy 215

A Critical Legal Literacy Model for Teacher Education 218

Practical Solutions: Online Limitations 221

Raising Student Awareness of Censorship 226

A Concept Map: Positive School Environments 230

The Stakeholder Model 232

Poisoned Environment 233

Conclusion 243

Notes 249

Cases 259

Chapter 1 259

Chapter 2 259

Chapter 3 259

Chapter 4 260

Chapter 5 260

Chapter 6 260

Chapter 7 261

Chapter 8 261

Index 263

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