Cyberbullying has various definitions. In general, it refers to when an individual uses a cell phone, computer or other electronic communications device to taunt, harass, torment, humiliate or threaten another individual. The law is unclear whether the behavior must be repeated and cause harm to be characterized as cyberbullying. A cyberbully might post humiliating photos of a classmate online or launch an online campaign of horrible rumors about a peer. Cyberbullying can lead to anxiety and depression in young victims and, in some cases, have even led to suicide.
It is difficult to address the cyberbullying problem without infringing on young people’s First Amendment right to free speech. In many cases, such behavior may not break the law, but may result in reprimand at school, including but not limited to suspension. However, in some really bad cases, cyberbullying can lead to you being sued for what you posted online.
In Kentucky, “bullying” means any unwanted verbal, physical, or social behavior among students that involves a real or perceived power imbalance and is repeated or has the potential to be repeated:
- That occurs on school premises, on school-sponsored transportation, or at a school-sponsored event; or
- That disrupts the education process.
KRS § 158.148 (2016).
Kentucky anti-bullying laws do not cover off-campus conduct and require school districts to formulate a code of acceptable behavior and discipline that prohibits bullying. The school district codes of discipline must include a process for informing students, parents, legal guardians, and school employees of the requirements of the code, including training for school employees.
Visit https://education.ky.gov/school/sdfs/Pages/Bullying.aspx for more information.