State Anti-Bullying Statutes and Student Speech

State Anti-Bullying Statutes and Student Speech

Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 231
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9519-1.ch015


This chapter highlights the role of state anti-bullying statutes in censorship of student off-campus speech. It examines the details of a representative and comprehensive anti-bullying statute – the New Jersey anti-bullying law. This chapter also explores the definition of harassment, intimidation and bullying under the anti-bullying statute. It discusses the various responsibilities under the law for regulating harassing, intimidating and bullying speech and conduct. It then discusses the relationship of the law to off-campus speech.
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This chapter examines the role of anti-bullying statutes in the censorship of off-campus speech. These laws, known as harassment, bullying or intimidation laws (or cyberbullying laws when specific to the internet) are designed to promote student safety and empower censorship of off-campus speech that qualifies as harassing, intimidating or bullying speech. Using New Jersey’s anti-bullying law as a framework, the chapter per the authors presents the customary statutory definition of harassment, intimidation and bullying. It identifies the acts that qualify as harassment, intimidation and bullying and the statutorily-required motivation necessary for those acts. It also discusses the role of the material and substantial disruption test as well as the infringement-of-rights test in school censorship of student speech under the anti-bullying laws. It presents the obligations of various school officials to report and train various constituencies on the various requirements of the law. It also discusses the statutory requirements for school policies as well as the role of the school safety team in the investigation of harassment, bullying and intimidation. These statutory mandates are detailed in order to ensure that students are protected from harassment, intimidation and bullying without compromising student speech rights. Finally, it examines various parts of the law with direct impact on off-campus speech.

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