November 28, 2017 Articles

Protecting Victims of Cyberbullying

Most states do not have criminal cyberbullying laws, so prosecutors often rely on stalking and harassment statutes to bring criminals to justice.

By Farrah Champagne and Mia Champagne – November 28, 2017

“Unless and until our society recognizes cyberbullying for what it is, the suffering of thousands of silent victims will continue.”

— Anna Maria Chavez

In J.C. v. Beverly Hills Unified School District, 711 F. Supp. 2d 1094, 1097 (C.D. Cal. May 6, 2010), J.C. was accused of cyberbullying. The bullying began one day after school when J.C. and her friends recorded a video of all of them talking very badly about their classmate C.C. One of J.C.’s friends called the classmate vulgar names and used profanity in the videotape. Another of J.C’s friends said C.C. was ugly and ranted on about C.C. and all of her supposedly horrible qualities.

That night when J.C. got home, she posted the video on the public website YouTube from her personal computer. She then told several students from school to watch the video, including the victim, C.C. The victim was saddened by the posting and told her mother. C.C.’s mother wanted to show the video to school officials, so she told C.C. to tell J.C. to keep the video online. The video received about 90 views that evening. The next day, J.C. heard students discussing the video, and C.C. reported the video to the school counselor. C.C., crying, told the school counselor that she felt humiliated. The counselor spent about 20 minutes trying to get C.C. to go to class. After the commotion related to the video was resolved, school administrators decided to suspend J.C. for two days for the cyberbullying. J.C. challenged the disciplinary action in court.

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