Cyberbullies now have the law on their side in New York when it comes to making your kid’s life a living hell.
Incredibly, New York state’s highest court in Albany struck down an existing anti-cyberbullying law enacted in 2010. The New York Court of Appeals ruled that the law violated the First Amendment in a 5-2 ruling yesterday.
Essentially, the ruling means that virtual harassment, intimidation, and worse are now protected free speech, despite the fact that some young teens have killed themselves because of such taunts in the U.S. The anti-cyberbullying laws in 12 other states are still intact, so there’s hope.
Cyberbullying, according to New York law, means:
- any act of communicating … by mechanical or electronic means
- “including posting statements on the internet or through a computer or email network
- “disseminating embarrassing or sexually explicit photographs
- “disseminating private, personal, false or sexual information,
- “or sending hate mail
- with no legitimate private, personal, or public purpose
- with the intent to harass, annoy, threaten, abuse, taunt, intimidate, torment, humiliate, or otherwise inflict significant emotional harm on another person.
The ruling was prompted by the sad case of New York teen Marquan Mockey-Meggs, who created a Facebook page where he posted photos of teens he knew with nasty and obscene messages and photos. Cyberbullies, you are now emboldened.