A new twist on an old practice?
Cyberbullying victims can take power back by protecting themselves
While being cyberbullied can be a painful, alienating experience that has even driven some to suicide, the good news is that victims have legal rights. Unlike early victims of Cyberbullying, who faced an uphill battle combatting their online tormenters, there are a number of steps that the New York State Criminal Justice Services suggest victims of cyberbullying take, which include:
* Identifying cyberbullies, even if that requires tracking them via Internet Service Provider;
* Contacting the police immediately if the cyberbully indicates an intention to engage in criminal activity such as threats of violence, extortion, obscene messages, stalking, hate crimes, or child pornography; and
* Contacting school administrators if the victim is a student.
When cyberbullying is severe, victims should not hesitate to seek the assistance of a qualified attorney, who can advise them on the most effective means to combat the offensive actions, in addition to determining whether the cyberbullying has given rise to a cause of action under the law.
Cyberbullying may represent a serious violation of the law
Depending on the particular conduct, cyberbullying may violate a number of federal laws. Schools, for instance, must address cyberbullying behavior when it involves severe, pervasive or persistent conduct focusing on a student’s race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or religion that creates a hostile environment such that it interferes with a student’s ability to benefit from or participate in a school’s services, activities, or opportunities. Among the federal laws that cyberbullying may violate are the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Education Amendments of 1972, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
To reiterate, if you have been victimized by cyberbullying, caring lawyers are waiting to assist you in fighting for your rights under the law.
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