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DelmarvaNow: Delaware officials seek input on cyberbullying
DOVER — The question among school administrators isn’t whether cyberbullying is a problem. It’s how to combat in a way that can stand up in court.
Lt. Gov. Matt Denn said individual school districts in other states have set up policies to penalize students for harassing their peers online, but some of those districts have seen their rules face legal challenges.
So Denn and Attorney General Beau Biden are seeking input to help craft legislation that would define the practice of cyberbullying, and put in place a uniform policy for public and charter schools in Delaware.
A series of public hearings are under way to help inform what will be in the legislation.
Denn said he and Biden are looking for real-life examples of cyberbullying, to see how a possible law would apply.
There is no such thing as a schoolyard bully anymore, in the age of constant online communication and social networking, Biden said.
“For schools to be the safe places that children deserve, they must be able to effectively fight bullying that may originate off school grounds, but follows its victims 24 hours a day,” Biden said.
About 35 people, all representatives of schools or school districts, attended the first hearing on Tuesday in Wilmington, sharing their stories. Numerous speakers that night asked state officials to craft a specific definition of cyberbullying. The remaining public hearings will take place April 24 in Sussex County and April 25 in Kent County.