Cyberbullying in the News

This is a short note with some links related to cyberbullying, starting with one to the June 27th New York Times feature article, Online Bullies Pull Schools Into the Fray. Reporter Jan Hoffman details how American school administrators are dealing with the pressure to intervene in cyberbullying cases despite challenging questions about the scope of their power to deal with “off campus” student conduct.

The pressure for intervention is understandable because the prospect of taking on a cyberbully through the courts can be daunting. Whether this cost should be mitigated by protective orders is the issue in a Nova Scotia case in which the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal issued an interlocutory order last week. In December, the Court will hear an appeal of a decision to deny a 15-year-old litigant the use of a pseudonym (initials) and a publication ban in her pursuit of an unknown individual who created a fake and allegedly defamatory Facebook profile in her name. Beyond Borders, a children’s rights organization, intends to intervene. The Halifax Herald Limited and Global Television are respondents.

Hoffman’s article also notes the February 2010 conflicting decisions of the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The two cases, each of which involves a challenge to sanctions levied against a student for creating a fake MySpace profile of a school principal, were re-heard en-banc on June 3rd with a decision to come.

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