Experienced & Trusted Family Law Attorneys
The Caring & Compassionate Family Lawyers You Need & Deserve on Your Side

Children And Cyberbullying

Effective January 1, 2015, a new law took effect in the State of Illinois that seeks to curb much of the cyberbullying that takes place in schools throughout the State. The issue of cyberbullying has continued to worsen over time with the amount of children that are actively engaged in social media, including Facebook and Twitter. Many news outlets have reported on cyberbullying and the ramifications that it can have on children.

In Illinois, the new law allows school districts to gain access to students’ social media passwords for purposes of punishing students for certain types of posts. The new law requires the school to show that there is “reasonable cause” to believe that a student’s social media postings contain evidence that a student has violated the school’s disciplinary rules. If reasonable cause can be shown, then the student must provide his or her passwords so the school can acquire the evidence for purposes of punishment under the terms of the school district’s disciplinary policy.

For parents in Illinois, this is a difficult issue because it raises the issue of privacy. Many parents argue that this is a necessary step in order to curb the cyberbullying that exists in schools today so that children can learn in an environment free from bullying. Other parents argue that the new law goes too far and has become an invasion of privacy. The law allows the school to obtain passwords and review postings outside the presence of the student or parent. In addition, it allows the school to access information regardless of whether the bullying took place during school hours.

While the debate over cyberbullying and social media will continue despite this law being in place, the State of Illinois has taken the stance that cyberbullying must be stopped so that children can learn in an environment that is healthy and productive.