When Vacaville Unified School District students return to class in three weeks, they and their parents will learn of a new anti-bullying policy that allows the school district to take action when students harass each other via social media.
Previous state laws regarding cyberbullying didn’t specifically address the matter of posting threats or harassing remarks, pictures or videos on sites such as MySpace, Facebook or YouTube. The Legislature corrected that last year, adding those technologies to its definition of “bullying committed by an electronic act” and stating that schools would be allowed to suspend or expel students who engage in it.
As a result, Vacaville school trustees recently updated the district’s policy to reflect the change.
While schools certainly have the right and responsibility to ensure that students aren’t bullying or being bullied when they are in school, the new law and policy raise questions of how far into the home a school district should be allowed to intrude. Specifically, should schools be able to expel students who post negative material online from their home computers?