Sticks and Stones: A Needed Legislative Reform to Kentucky’s Approach to Cyberbulling

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Article | 102 KY. L. J. ONLINE 1 | Sept. 22, 2013

Amanda East

Introduction

It can hardly be argued that…students…shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech…at the schoolhouse gate.FN1

Reading, writing, and arithmetic are the “three r’s” used to describe the foundation of the typical American education. Another unspoken fixture of the American classroom is bullying. This longstanding practice has entered the new millennium, and technology has given bullies new ways to torment victims. Kameron Jacobsen was a high school freshman in New York who enjoyed spending time with his family and was constantly using Facebook, a social networking site, to interact with his classmates.FN2 This social forum became a nightmare when his peers used it to taunt and ridicule Kameron until he committed suicide.FN3 His family had no available recourse because, like most states, New York’s legislative and judicial branches are ill-prepared to address the emerging issue of cyberbullying.FN4 Perhaps worst of all, Kameron is not the first student to be “a victim of cyberbullying,” nor is he the last. In the Bluegrass State, Rachael Neblett, a seventeen-year old high school student took her life in 2006 under similar circumstances.FN5 The Internet has benefited teenagers in a number of ways, but, in conjunction with these benefits, courts have seen increased litigation regarding cyberbullying.FN6 The absence of Supreme Court precedent on this issue has resulted in an array of state and federal court decisions. State legislatures have amended or adopted new statutes to address this problem. I contend that in order to sufficiently address cyberbullying, Kentucky needs to recognize schools have an important interest in preventing cyberbullying and need broader authority to effectively address this problem. Kentucky needs to enact legislation, similar to Vermont or Massachusetts, permitting schools to regulate off-campus Internet student speech. This broadening of what it means to be “within” the “schoolhouse gates” is justified because of the nature of the interest and the legislature’s ability to tailor schools’ authority in order not to infringe on protected speech. In order to prove this thesis, Part I will begin by defining cyberbullying. Part II will then examine lower court decisions on the cyberbullying issue, beginning with relevant Supreme Court precedent, and the developing body of case law, identifying three standard cyberbullying approaches taken by lower courts. Part III will address state legislatures’ responses to cyberbullying. Part IV will analyze efforts by the House of the Kentucky General Assembly to amend existing statutes and their shortcomings, and finally Part V will conclude with an appeal for additional cyberbullying legislation in Kentucky.

I.      Cyberbullying and its Effects

Cyberbullying is distinguishable from traditional bullying in four ways. First, the aggressor can choose to remain anonymous by creating a false, online identity, establishing a sense of power and control.FN7 Second, the speed of dissemination ensures the victim will more readily experience the bullying.FN8 Third, the Internet has unlimited reach ensuring “cruel and sadistic behavior [will be] amplified and publicized, not just on the campus [of a school], but throughout the world.”FN9 Last, the victim’s torment is constant and inescapable because he or she experiences it every time they access the Internet.FN10

II.      Student Speech and The First Amendment: An Overview

A. Supreme Court Student Speech Jurisprudence

In the wake of increased litigation, lower courts have used four seminal Supreme Court cases to balance a student’s interest in freedom of speech and the school’s interest in regulation. The first of these cases, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, established protection of in-school student speech, while the three subsequent cases carved out content-based exceptions. In effect, the Supreme Court has instituted four standards that lower courts may apply in determining the constitutionality of student speech.

1.      Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District

In Tinker, the Court stated that students do not “shed their constitutional rights…at the schoolhouse gate,’” and struck down students’ suspensions for wearing black armbands in school because the school failed to show a “substantial disruption.”FN11Under this standard, a school may regulate student speech to provide a safe and productive learning environment only when the school can show the speech did, or could reasonably be foreseen to, materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school.FN12

2.      Bethlehem School District v. Fraser

Bethlehem School District v. Fraser established a separate standard restriction on student speech.FN13 The Fraser standard permits schools to prohibit vulgar, lewd, or obscene student speech regardless of whether or not it results in disruption because the Court recognized that schools have an interest in protecting minors from speech that is “inconsistent with the ‘fundamental values’ of public school education.”FN14

3.      Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier

In Hazelwood, the Supreme Court upheld censoring student speech because it was part of a school-sponsored activity “bear[ing] the imprimatur of the school,” meaning the school was effectively being asked to promote student speech inconsistent with its basic educational mission.FN15 Hazelwood’s restriction permits public schools to regulate the content of a school-sponsored activity so long as it is reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns.FN16

4.      Morse v. Frederick

This most recent case establishes a restriction acknowledging that public schools may limit student speech which could “reasonably [be] viewed as promoting illegal drug use” because schools have an important, and perhaps compelling, interest in discouraging such activity.FN17 Morse suggests that a school may limit student speech because of the school’s important interest in prohibiting the content itself.FN18

B.  Applying these Standards: How Courts Approach Internet Student Speech Off-Campus

The absence of direct Supreme Court precedent has resulted in “a ‘state of tumult about the precise scope of First Amendment rights possessed by students.’” and lower courts have adopted three common approaches to address the matter.FN19

1.      The Geography Approach

This approach distinguishes between “on-campus” and “off-campus” speech. Courts will initially determine if the speech occurred on school grounds or during a school-sponsored activity to ensure there is a sufficient nexus for the court to rely on existing school-speech jurisprudence to render a decision.FN20 This approach has produced mixed results. In Mahaffey v. Aldrich, a district court found that a student website entitled “Satan’s webpage” encouraging violence and containing a death list was outside the school’s reach because the speech did not create an actual disruption under the Tinker standard.FN21 Conversely, in J.S. v. Bethlehem Area School District, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found, under the Tinker standard, a school could punish off-campus speech because “where speech that is aimed at a specific school and/or its personnel is brought onto the school campus or accessed at school by its originator, the speech will be considered on-campus speech.”FN22

2.      The Foreseeability Test

Under the foreseeability test, courts justify extending Tinker to “off-campus” speech because of an excerpt in Tinker which states, [C]onduct by the student, in class or out of it, which for any reason- whether it stems from time, place, or type of behavior- materially disrupts the classwork or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of other is, of course, not immunized by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech.FN23   Both the Second and Third Circuits have held that a school may regulate Internet student speech if it “poses a reasonably foreseeable risk of disruption.”FN24 The Second Circuit held in Wisniewski v. Board of Education Weedsport Central School District that a student-created image of a pistol firing at a teacher’s head was unprotected speech and the school could regulate it.FN25 In J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District, an eighth grader created a false profile of a school principal suggesting he was a pedophile and sex addict.FN26 The Third Circuit combined the Tinker and Fraser standards to hold that, under a different set of facts and circumstances, the school would be permitted to punish a student without constitutional violation. FN27

3.      The “Standard First” Approach

Under the “standard first” approach, courts apply existing Supreme Court standards to a particular fact pattern and determine if any of these standards permit the school to prohibit the speech.FN28 Using this approach, a district court in Killion v. Franklin Reg. School District held that a student e-mail with offensive remarks about the school’s athletic director was protected speech under Tinker because it did not run afoul of the “substantial disruption” test.FN29

III.      State Legislatures’ Response

The confusion in the judicial branch has generated a need for state legislatures to enact statutes more clearly delineating schools’ scope of authority. Currently, forty-nine states have bullying statutes.FN30 Sixteen of these specifically address the issue of cyberbullying, with seven including “off-campus” cyberbullying as a problem within schools’ purview.FN31 Cyberbullying statues provide courts with a definitive means of addressing Internet student speech. A uniform approach offers a sense of predictability and stability such that all affected parties are on notice of potential liability for violations. A statute permits state and district school boards to craft policies explicitly articulating schools’ authority over the Internet. Furthermore, cyberbullying statutes reduce the possibility of unreasonable infringement of non-student speech because they define the parameters for the balancing of the two interests occurs.

IV.      Kentucky’s Proposed Response: Amendments to KRS 158.148 and KRS 525.070

To date, Kentucky has not adopted a separate cyberbullying statute or included cyberbullying within its statutory definition of “bullying” or “harassment.” The General Assembly has considered the issue since 2007, proposing numerous amendments to existing statutes which have subsequently stalled in committee.FN32 This indicates that the House sees the need to formulate a response to cyberbullying.

A.    2008 Ky. House Bill No. 91

In 2008, Kentucky’s legislature attempted to pass four versions of Ky. House Bill No. 91; the first contained no reference to cyberbullying.FN33 KRS 158.148 stated school codes must prohibit harassment, intimidation, and bullying; these terms were defined narrowly by KRS 158.441 such that communications referred only to “written” communications occurring on-campus, during a school sponsored activity, or on school transportation.FN34 In the context of a cyberbullying case, a court could view this limitation as possibly including or excluding electronic media because the statute is unclear whether “written” communication means only physical communication. The geographic constraint presents the same shortcoming seen in other states because it would prohibit a court from granting schools the authority to regulate off-campus Internet student speech, like cyberbullying. The third and fourth versions contained a notable change. The amended version of KRS 525.080 specifically stated a student would be guilty of harassing communications if he or she sent an electronic communication “which a reasonable person . . . should know would cause the other student to suffer fear of physical harm, intimidation, humiliation, or embarrassment, and which serves not purpose of legitimate communication.”FN35 While it does not explicitly use the term cyberbullying, this marked the first time the Kentucky legislature acknowledged and addressed the issue.

B.     2011 Ky. House Bill No. 370

House Bill 370 proposed shifting some of the language discussed above. The amended version of 158.148 would specifically reference cyberbullying and require schools to include it in their discipline codes.FN36 The House defined cyberbullying as any electronic communication intended to: (1) physically harm a student or their property, (2) substantially interfere with educational opportunities, (3) create an intimidating or threatening education environment, or (4) cause a substantial disruption to the school.FN37 This expansive view of cyberbullying suggests the House was growing increasingly aware of the many ways cyberbullying manifests. Nevertheless, the continued geographical limitation on the school’s authority to address cyberbullying creates the risk that schools will be unable to address a significant amount of Internet student speech and will continue to see the types of disruptions the legislature seeks to avoid.

C.    2012 Ky. House Bill No. 490

House Bill 490 is the most recent set of amendments. “Cyberbullying” is now encapsulated in KRS 158.441’s definition of “bullying”; “electronic acts” is a type of bullying and is defined as “an act committed through the use of a cellular telephone, computer, pager, personal communication device, or other electronic communication device” to inflict mental or physical harm on another student.FN38

V.      Recommendation

The steps taken by the House of Kentucky’s General Assembly are commendable, but these proposals do not provide schools with the necessary tools to reach a significant amount of Internet student speech. The geographic constraint on schools’ authority means administrators will be unable to address an issue until it makes its way onto campus.

A.    Shortcoming of Proposed Kentucky Amendments and the Need to Recognize Cyberbullying as an Important, Perhaps Compelling State Interest

The proposed legislation discussed above, if enacted, means that Kentucky schools will be unable to address a potential disruption until it becomes an actual disruption. This would require administrators to act reactively rather than proactively. Such an approach undermines the notion that schools may act conducive to their primary objectives of safety and education.

This limitation may generate more issues than it solves. For example, if schools are permitted to regulate only “on campus” Internet student speech, can schools only monitor speech on school computers or other electronic media? Is it relevant that a student posted a harmful remark during school hours using their cell phone? Would it matter if the school district’s discipline code prohibited the use of privately owned cell phones during regular school hours? The Supreme Court acknowledged schools have an important, if not compelling, interest in deterring drug use amongst students because it is essentially antithetical to schools’ education mission.FN39Similarly, cyberbullying is antithetical to schools’ education mission. Its constant and pervasive nature has a direct impact on schools manifesting in increased academic problems, anxiety, depression, severe isolation, a tendency to carry weapons, and suicide.FN40 Based on the problems caused by cyberbullying, it is imperative that the Kentucky General Assembly succeed in not only passing amended statutes recognizing cyberbullying as an issue in public schools, but also replacing the confining geographic language with a more flexible standard allowing schools to respond preemptively without being overly inclusive.

B.     Vermont and Massachusetts: Models for New Kentucky Legislation

Unlike Kentucky, Vermont and Massachusetts have enacted legislation addressing cyberbullying that extends schools’ authority beyond campus premises.FN41 Vermont’s statute states that bullying includes cyberbullying that “does not occur during the school day on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity and can be shown to pose a clear and substantial interference with another student’s right to access educational programs.” Massachusetts’s legislation is similar.FN42 The Massachusetts legislation permits schools to regulate activity occurring off-campus “if the bullying creates a hostile environment at school for the victim, infringes on the rights of the victim at school or materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.”FN43 The language of these statutes is similar to the foreseeability approach recognized by some courts because both permit school regulation when there is still the possibility of preventing a substantial disruption, thus preserving the school environment.FN44 Vermont and Massachusetts explicitly define the student actions which are considered cyberbullying, much like the definitions seen in Ky. House Bill No. 370.FN45 This specificity provides schools and courts with a clearer understanding of what speech the statute governs. Additionally, both states require local school districts to develop procedures to address cyberbullying including the response and investigation of possible cyberbullying, to define disciplinary actions for offenders, and to develop programs to raise awareness about cyberbullying.FN46 These requirements safeguard against overreach by public schools and demonstrate that it is possible for a state to enact cyberbullying legislation extending beyond the school’s physical parameters while still not trampling on freedom of speech.

C.    Proposed Kentucky Legislation for Online Student Speech

The Kentucky legislature’s primary focus should be recognizing cyberbullying as a distinct, unique issue in public schools. A good start would be combining the approaches taken by Massachusetts and Vermont to establish a separate definition for cyberbullying under KRS 158.441 because that combination would signal the General Assembly’s awareness of cyberbullying and would be consistent with the unique characteristics of cyberbullying. The current definition of cyberbullying in KRS 158.441 is susceptible to overreach by public schools because the only qualification on what constitutes actionable bullying is that it cause mental or physical harm.FN47 A school, for example, could determine a student was in violation if the victimized student claims to have been embarrassed or reduced to tears. A standard such easily manipulated would be improper because schools would have virtually unchecked policing powers. A better definition of cyberbullying in KRS 158.441 would read as follows: “Cyberbullying” is bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication including, but not limited to, the transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted by, an electronic medium including those which the creator assumes another person’s identity or knowingly impersonates another as the author of posted content or messages. Additionally, it includes the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons. A student will be determined to have committed an act of cyberbullying against another student if the following conditions are met. The act: (1) is repeated over time; (2) is intended to ridicule, humiliate, or intimidate the victim; and (3) occurs during the school day on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity, or before or after the school day on a school bus or at a school-sponsored activity. (4) does not occur during one of the on-campus activities discussed above, but can be shown to pose a clear and substantial interference with another student’s right to access educational programs.FN48 This definition has several benefits. First, it narrows the scope of Internet speech subject to regulation, reducing potential infringement of constitutionally protected speech. Second, it recognizes the unique nature of student Internet speech. Third, it outlines a clear analytical framework for Kentucky courts to use in future cyberbullying lawsuits, resulting in increased predictability. Fourth, it puts all potential parties on notice of the types of Internet speech consider within the school’s purview. Last, this construction of cyberbullying is consistent with the standard articulated in Tinker. While Kentucky courts would be recognizing a school’s authority “beyond the schoolhouse gate,” this authority would stem from the likelihood the speech will negatively impact students within the school environment. Thus, widening the scope of school-regulated speech would permit the Kentucky legislature and courts to continue to respect the sanctity of the schoolhouse gate.

Conclusion

The Internet has radically changed the framework for student speech analysis causing lower courts to respond in varied, and sometimes surprising, ways. Previously, off-campus student speech was distinctly beyond the schoolhouse gate and free from constraint. This spatial distinction has declined with the prevalence and pervasiveness of the Internet, which has blurred the borders between many areas of regulation. While certainly not all off-campus speech is subject to schools’ authority, those that would create a substantial disruption should be subject to school regulation.FN49 In order to navigate the challenges presented in addressing off-campus Internet student speech, Kentucky’s General Assembly needs to enact an amended version of statutes 158.148 and 158.441. The geographical limitation contained within 158.148 needs to be replaced with more expansive language, similar to Massachusetts’ and Vermont’s statutes.FN50 Additionally, 158.441 needs to provide a definition of cyberbullying. Such changes would recognize that a geographical distinction is inadequate for schools to provide a safe and productive learning environment. Without these changes, courts will be left with little to base their decisions on except a “very tricky calculus,”FN51which will not produce the outcomes necessary to prevent future victims of cyberbullying.


FN1. Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 506 (1969).
FN2. New York 14-Year-Old Kameron Jacobsen Bullied to Death, CBS New York, http://newyork.cbsloc al.com/2011/09/15/exclusive-new-york-14-year-old-bullied-to-death/ (last visited June 3, 2013).
FN3. Id.; Parents Speak Out on Bullying After Son’s Death, CBS New York, http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500172_162-20106690.html (last visited June 3, 2013).
FN4. New York 14-Year Old Kameron Jacobsen Bullied to Death, supra note 2.
FN5. Rachael was a Bullitt County student when she committed suicide after receiving threatening anonymous e-mails from classmates. Janelle McDonald, Family of Teen who Took Her Own Life Pushing Lawmakers for Anti-Bullying Ordinance, Wave3 News, http://www.wave3.com/story/6029598/family-of-teen-who-took-her-own-life-pushing-lawmakers-for-anti-bullying-ordinance (last visited June 3, 2013) (stating Rachael received an e-mail saying, “ ‘[I am not] going to put [you] in the hospital, [I’m] going to put [you] in the morgue.’”).
FN6. Katherine Ng, Digital Dilemmas: Responding to Cyberbullying in Nova Scotia, 22 EDUC. & L.J. 63, 65-66 (2012); see also Gwenn Schrugin O’Keeffe, Kathleen Clarke-Pearson, and the Council on Communications and Media, Clinical Report: The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families, 127 Pediatrics 800, 800-01 (2011). (stating the internet has assisted in self-identification by adolescents).
FN7. Ng, supra note 6 at 68; see also Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin, Cyberbullying Research Summary: Cyberbullying and Strain, 1, 1 http://www.cyberbullying.us/cyberbullying_ and_strain_research_fact_sheet.pdf (last visited June 3, 2013).
FN8. Ng, supra note 6 at 69; see also Hinduja and Patchin, supra note 7 at 1.
FN9. Ng, supra note 6 at 70; Allison Belnap, Comment, Tinker at a Breaking Point: Why the Specter of Cyberbullying Cannot Excuse Impermissible Public School Regulation of Off-Campus Student Speech, BYU L. Rev. 501, 501 (2011) (quoting Jeff Lieberman, Rutgers Student’s Suicide Prompts privacy, Cyber-Bullying Debates (PBS NewsHour broadcast Oct. 1, 2010), transcript available at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/social_issues/july-dec10/rutgers1_10-01.html); see also Hinduja and Patchin, supra note 7 at 1.
FN10. Ng, supra note 6 at 68.
FN11. Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 506, 514 (1969).
FN12. Id. at 514. (“As we have discussed, the record does not demonstrate any facts which might reasonably have led school authorities to forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities, and no disturbances or disorders on the school premises in fact occurred.”).
FN13. See Bethlehem Sch. Dist. v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675, 685-86 (1986). The Court later stated in a footnote the Fraser standard is separate and distinct from Tinker. Hazelwood Sch. Dist. v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260, 271, n. 4. (“The decision in Fraser rested on the ‘vulgar,’ ‘lewd,’ and ‘plainly offensive’ character if a speech delivered at an official school assembly rather than on any propensity of the speech to ‘materially disrup[t] class work or involv[e] substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others.”) (quoting Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 513 (1969)).
FN14. Fraser, 478 U.S. at 683, 685-86.
FN15. Hazelwood, 484 U.S. at 281.
FN16. Id. at 273.
FN17. Morse v. Frederick, 484 U.S. 393, 403 (2007).
FN18. See Caitlin May, Comment, “Internet-Savvy Students” and Bewildered Educators: Student Internet Speech is Creating New Legal Issues for the Educational Community, 58 Cath. U. L. Rev. 1105, 1111 (2009) (analyzing the Court’s rationale in Hazelwood); Harriet A. Hoder, Note, Supervising Cyberspace: A Simple Threshold for Public School Jurisdiction over Student’s Online Activity, 50 B.C. L. Rev. 1563, 1574-75 (2009).
FN19. Stephanie Klupinski, Note, Getting Past the Schoolhouse Gate: Rethinking Student Speech in the Digital Age, 71 Ohio St. L.J. 611, 625 (2010) (quoting Robert D. Richards & Clay Calvert, Columbine Fallout: The Long-Term Effects on Free Expression Take Hold in Public Schools, 83 B.U. L. Rev. 1089, 1139 (2003)); May, supra note 18 at 1128-31.
FN20. May, supra note 18 at 1128; Hoder, supra note 18 at 1583-85; see also Sandy S. Li, The Need for a New, Uniform Standard: The Continued Threat of Internet-Related Student Speech, 26 Loy. L.A. Ent. L. Rev. 65, 78; Belnap, supra note 9, at 510, Klupinski, supra note 19, at 627.
FN21. Mahaffey ex rel. Mahaffey v. Aldrich, 236 F. Supp. 2d 779, 782-84 (E.D. Mich. 2002) (“In the case at bar, there is no evidence that the website interfered with the work of the school or that any other student’s rights were impinged.”).
FN22. J.S. v. Bethlehem Area Sch. Dist., 807 A. 2d 847, 865 (Pa. 2002).
FN23. Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 513 (1969) (emphasis added).
FN24. Wisniewski v. Bd. of Educ. Weedsport Cent. Sch. Dist., 494 F.3d. 34, 38 (2d Cir. 2007); J.S. ex rel. Snyder v. Blue Mountain Sch. Dist., 650 F.3d 915 (3d Cir. 2011).
FN25. Wisniewski, 494 F.3d at 36-40.
FN26. Blue Mountain, 650 F.3d at 920.
FN27. Id. at 928, 932-33 (holding J.S.’s suspension was a violation of the First Amendment because it did not cause a substantial disruption in the school under the Tinker standard).
FN28. Klupinski, supra note 19 at 638-39.
FN29. Killion v. Franklin Reg. Sch. Dist., 136 F. Supp. 2d 446, 455 (W.D. Penn. 2001) (“Although the intended audience was undoubtedly connected to Franklin Regional High School, the absence of threats or actual disruption lead us to conclude that Paul’s suspension was improper.”).
FN30. See Ala. Code §16-28-3.1(b)(6) (2013); Alaska Stat. Ann. §14.33.200 (2013); Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-341(37) (2013); Ark. Code Ann. §6-18-514(b)(2) (2013); Cal. Educ. Code §32261(d) (2013); Colo. Rev. Stat. §22-32-109.1(1)(b) (2013); Conn. Gen. Stat. §10-222d(a)(1) (2013); Del. Code Ann. tit. 14 §4112D(a) (2013); Fla. Stat. §1006.147(a) (2013); Ga. Code §20-2-751.4 (2013); Haw. Code R. § 8-19-2 (2013); Idaho Code Ann. §18-917A(2) (2013); 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/27-23.7(b) (2013); Ind. Code §20-33-8-0.2 (2013); Iowa Code §280.28(2)(b) (2013); Kan. Stat. Ann. §72-8256(a)(1) (2013); Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §158.183(1)-(2) (2013); La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §17:416(d) (2013); Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 20-A(2)(B) §6554 (2013); Md. Code Ann. Education §7-424.3(a) (2013); Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 71, § 37O(a) (2013); Mich. Comp. Laws §380.1310b(8)b (2013); Minn. Stat. §121A.0695 (2013); Miss. Code Ann. §37-11-67(1) (2013); Mo. Rev. Stat. § 160.775(2) (2013); Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-2, 137(2) (2013); Nev. Rev. Stat. §388.135 (2013); N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §193-F:3(I) (2013); N.J. Stat. Ann. §18A:37-14 (2013); N.M. Stat. Ann. §6.12.7 (2013); N.Y. Educ. Law §11(7) (McKinney 2013); N.C. Gen. Stat. §115C-407.15(a) (2013); N.D. Cent. Code §15.1-19-17(1) (2013); Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §3313.666(A)(2) (2013); 2013 Okla. Sess. Laws 311; Or. Rev. Stat. §339.351(2) (2013); 24 Pa. Cons. Stat. §13-1301.1-A(e) (2013); R.I. Gen. Laws §16-21-33(a) (2013); S.C. Code Ann. § 59-73-120(1) (2013); S.D. Codified Laws §13-32-15 (2013); Tenn. Code Ann. §49-6-1015(3) (2013); Tex. Educ. Code Ann. §37.0832(a) (2013); Utah Code Ann. §53A-11a-201 (2013); Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 16, § 11(26), (32) (2013); Va. Code Ann. §22.1-279.6 (2013); Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §28A.300.285(2) (2013); W. Va. Code Ann. §18-2C-2(a) (2013); Wis. Stat. §118.46(1) (2013); Wyo. Stat. Ann. §21-4-312(a) (2013).
FN31. Statutes specifically referencing cyberbullying include: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington. The following states have permitted schools to regulate and punish off campus behavior: Arkansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Tennessee, and Vermont. See Ark. Code Ann. §5-71-217(c) (West  (2013); Cal. Educ. Code §32261 (West 2013); Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. §10-222d(a)(6), (b)(15) (West 2013); Haw. Code R. § 8-19-2 (2013); Kan. Stat. Ann. §72-8256(a)(2)-(3), (c) (West 2013); La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §40.7 (2013); Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 71, § 37O(b) (West 2013); Mo. Ann Rev. Stat. § 160.775 (West 2013); Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. §388.135(7) (West 2013); N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §193-F:3(V) (2013); N.Y. Educ. Law §11(7) (McKinney 2013); N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. §115C-407.15(a) (West 2013); Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. §339.351 (West 2013); Tenn. Code Ann. §49-6-1015 (West 2013); Utah Code Ann. §53A-11a-201(1)-(2) (West 2013); Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §28A.300.285 (West 2013).
FN32. H.B. 91, 2007 H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. Nov. 26, 2007); H.B. 91, 2008 H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. Jan. 8, 2008); H.B. 91, 2008 H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. Mar. 19, 2008); H.B. 91, 2008 H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. Apr. 15, 2008); H.B. 370, 2011 H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. 2011); H.B. 336, 2012 H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. 2012); H.B. 490, 2012 H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. 2012).
FN33. H.B. 91, 2007 H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. Nov. 26, 2007); H.B. 91, 2008 H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. Jan. 8, 2008); H.B. 91, 2008 H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. Mar. 19,2008); H.B. 91, 2008 H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. Apr. 15, 2008).
FN34. H.B. 91, 2007 H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. Nov. 26,2007) (“‘Harassment, intimidation, or bullying’ means a repeated verbal, nonverbal, or written communication transmitted; repeated physical acts committed; or any other repeat behavior committed by a student against another student on school premises, on school-sponsored transportation, or at a school-sponsored event…”).
FN35. H.B. 91, 2008 H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. Mar. 19, 2008); H.B. 91, 2008 H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. Apr. 15, 2008).
FN36. H.B. 370, 2011 H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. 2011) (“Amend KRS 158.148 to require the discipline code to prohibit harassment, intimidation, bullying, or cyberbullying against students…”) (emphasis added).
FN. 37.Id.
FN. 38. H.B. 490, 2012 H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. 2012).
FN 39. Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. 393, 407 (2007) (stating that prior Supreme Court cases have recognized the dangers of illegal drug use and schools’ interest in protecting students from the dangers of drug abuse).
FN. 40. See Ng, supra note 6 at 70; see also Natasha Rose Manuel, Cyber-bullying: Its Recent Emergence and Needed Legislation to Protect Adolescent Victims, 13 Loy. J. Pub. Int. L. 219, 225-28 (2011), Hoder, supra note 18 at 1566.
FN. 41. Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 71, § 37O(b) (2013); Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 16, § 11(a)(32) (2013).
FN. 42. Tit. 16, § 11(a)(32)(C)(ii) (emphasis added); ch. 71, § 37O(b).
FN. 43. Ch. 71, § 37O(b).
FN. 44. Compare ch. 71, § 37O(b) and tit. 16, § 11(a)(32)(C))(ii) with Wisniewski v. Bd. of Educ. Weedsport Cent. Sch. Dist., 494 F.3d. 34, 38-39 (2d Cir. 2007) and J.S. v. Blue Mountain Sch. Dist., 650 F.3d 915, 932-33 (3d Cir. 2009).
FN. 45. Compare H.B. 336,  H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. 2012) and H.B. 370, H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. 2012) with ch. 71, § 370 and tit. 16, § 11.
FN. 46. Ch. 71, § 37O(c)-(h); tit. 16, § 11.
FN. 47. KRS 158. 441 states “‘Harassment, intimidation, or bullying means: Any intentional written, verbal, electronic, physical act that a student has exhibited toward another student more than once that causes mental or physical harm to the other student.” H.B. 490, H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. 2012) (emphasis added).
FN. 48. This proposed statutory construction is based on the legislation in Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Vermont. See H.B. 370, H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. 2011); ch. 71 § 37O(a)-(b); tit. 16, § 11(a)(32).
FN. 49. May, supra note 18 at 1141, Li, supra note 20 at 87-91, Klupinski, supra note 20 at 643-50.
FN. 50. Compare H.B. 336, H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. 2012) and H.B. 490, H.R., Reg. Sess. (Ky. 2012) with ch. 71, § 37O(b) and tit. 16, § 11(a)(32)(C)(ii).
FN. 51 May, supra note 18 at 1141. (quoting Victoria Kim, Suit Blends Internet, Free Speech, School, L.A. Times, Aug. 3, 2008, at B1).