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EDITORIAL: School administrators should exercise caution when using new legal powers to punish cyberbullies

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EDITORIAL: School administrators should exercise caution when using new legal powers to punish cyberbullies

The Foothill Dragon press has some concerns in regard to AB 256. Credit: Aysen Tan

The Foothill Dragon press has some concerns in regard to AB 256. Credit: Aysen Tan

The Foothill Dragon press has some concerns in regard to AB 256. Credit: Aysen Tan

The Foothill Dragon press has some concerns in regard to AB 256. Credit: Aysen Tan


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The Foothill Dragon press has some concerns in regard to AB 256. Credit: Aysen Tan

The Foothill Dragon press has some concerns in regard to AB 256. Credit: Aysen Tan

On Jan. 1 a new law took effect that expands the authority and reach of Californian public schools to punish students for cyberbullying that occurs off campus. While the Foothill Dragon Press believes that AB 256, authored by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, will help deter more bullying via social media and texting, we have concerns that the law’s implementation could create problems that supercede the good intentions that the law may have.

One of the main concerns is that a student accused of cyberbullying may receive disciplinary action even though the tweet, post, or text was sarcastic. Administrators must be cautious when investigating the dialogue of an accused student and should keep in mind that students may be displaying their sense of humor, which could potentially include sarcasm, bluntness, irony, or even satire.

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 8.33.19 PMAB 256 defines bullying as “any severe or pervasive physical or verbal conduct” that can be “reasonably predicted” to harm a student’s mental or physical health, academic performance or ability to benefit from school activities, as well as cause a student to fear that harm may come to their, or another student’s, person or property.

However, words such as “severe” and “pervasive” mean different things to different people, and so a second concern is overreaction on the part of “victims.” Administrators need to understand that deeming a form of cyber dialogue “cyberbullying” does not always constitute it as cyberbullying. The accused “bully” may not have vicious intentions when he or she clicks ‘submit.’ Students and administrators may mistake meanness for bullying. If a student brings that tweet or post to an administrator because it hurt their feelings, the person who posted it would be taken out of class to talk it out or even receive consequences, when really it may be an issue of over-sensitivity rather than actual bullying.

Hypersensitive students bringing their issues to administrators takes time and energy from serving students who are actually being bullied. Students who are being maliciously bullied may not even tell their administrators or counselors, and meanwhile, students who get their feelings hurt are having interventions with their “bully.”

AB 256 raises concern that school administrators will enforce a zero tolerance policy in regards to cyberbullying. Credit: Kazu Koba/The Foothill Dragon Press

AB 256 raises concern that school administrators will enforce a zero tolerance policy in regards to cyberbullying. Credit: Kazu Koba/The Foothill Dragon Press

We hope administrators will remember that this law is not supposed to deal with a one-time mean comment, but with serious issues that need attention for the victim, like rape shaming, slut shaming, or homophobic and racial slurs. It is supposed to deal with issues that are an on-going viciousness: bullying.

Third, although this law only pertains to cyberbullying off campus, the Dragon Press is worried that it will open the door for students getting punished for illegal activity that they take part in outside of school. What happens if, in the course of investigating a bullying complaint, administrators see tweets or texts about students smoking with friends on the weekend? Will this illegal off campus activity be investigated and punished, too? Where does the administration’s reach and authority stop?

Finally, we are concerned about the possibility of a “zero tolerance” attitude with free speech, similar to what has happened over two decades with laws pertaining to weapons on campus. In California, students have been suspended and expelled for acts as simple as forgetting a pocket knife in their pocket, or bringing a butter knife in their lunch. The fact that students are suspended for something so accidental is a reflection of administrators having a strict interpretation of the law. At Foothill, we don’t want to see a student get suspended for a tweet or post that was snarky or mean because another student let their feelings supercede their logic and they interpreted it as bullying.

Students who are viciously bullying another student to the point that it affects their everyday school life need to be addressed within the school. But we hope we don’t see students punished for minor offenses.


Want to know the full story? Check out Fidelity Ballmer’s article about California’s new cyberbullying legislation.


Although this law will be positive in that it has the potential to help students who are truly victims of bullying, it may allow for unfair punishments, whether it’s because of a misunderstanding or an overzealous interpretation.

Administrators should be cautious and thorough when dealing with the interpretation of AB256 and deciding how they’re going to implement it. They should never overlook bullying just as they should never overreact to a minor mean comment.

What do you think?

40 Responses to “EDITORIAL: School administrators should exercise caution when using new legal powers to punish cyberbullies”

  1. Cole pagel on February 10th, 2014 9:15 am

    i believed that social media monitoring is an invasion of privacy and a recipe for the suspencion and expultion of students for undeserving crimes for example there are students who cuss like sailors at home who wouldn’t at school but are allowed to at home or are allowed to have weapons at home or say a student plays air soft and posts a picture of their gun and its mistaken for a real one they could get expelled undeservedly , and chasing after these crimes takes away from the protection of the students who are the reason for the monitoring in the first place.

  2. Meagan on February 10th, 2014 9:16 am

    In my opinion monitoring students online should not be allowed. What if a students says something to his/her friends online and it’s playfully mean but a teacher sees it or someone shows it to the principle and that person gets in trouble. This should not be allowed because this way students don’t have any privacy to say or do whatever they want. If a school is doing this and some students find out about it, they don’t have any trust for the school and won’t want to go there anymore. I see how the school would think that they are just trying to protect their students, but at the same time, lose their trust.

  3. Cody on February 10th, 2014 9:17 am

    In my opinion schools should not able to suspend kids for stuff said online. We have a freedom of speech and if we want to tell someone that they are ugly then that’s our right to do so. They should not be able to go onto our Facebook, instagram, or twitter accounts and suspend us stuff for said on there. It’s our parent’s job to deal with what we do online, not the schools. If a kid is being bullied at home the school doesn’t have the right to get into that because it’s not at schools. The parents have to be the ones to step into that and put a stop to what’s going on.

  4. Marisol on February 10th, 2014 9:21 am

    In my opinion i think its wrong that schools hire people to monitor students social media for example, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. Students have the right to have their own freedom and privacy. They make their own choices on what to post and what not too. In the idea of schools suspending students is really weird because that’s the business of the students and not the schools. There might be someone that is being cyberbullying by a student outside school but i think that’s the parents problem that they need to take care of. Schools don’t need to suspend that is bullying a student that is not taking place in school. Maybe somewhat they have the right because if they bully a student that goes to the same school, it can affect the next morning at school.

  5. mozell on February 10th, 2014 9:22 am

    In my opinion I don’t think school should have the power to freely look at my, or anyone else’s social media. I think schools are not responsible for things outside of school. A thing happening at home and NOT at school is not the school’s responsibility it is the student’s parent’s responsibility. The school should only be in charge of things going on at school. If students are being rude to other students on twitter or instagram for one day then that should be the parent’s responsibility. If some students were getting bullied for a week and the person was telling them to kill themselves then yes, the school should be notified. I think the school should tell the parents and ask them for permission to look at both of the students social media. I don’t think that the school should have the freedom of looking at students websites because it can cause a lot of controversy. Also the schools do not have the full right to look at their students social media. People do have the right to say what they want (freedom of speech.) The school would not be able to suspend a student for saying they don’t like a teacher on snapchat because no law has been passed.

  6. Drew on February 10th, 2014 9:22 am

    My opinion on schools and school districts monitoring their students social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. I think if the school has a really bad bullying history and the school and school district has tried to use other methods of solving the bullying problem and none of them have helped, then the school district can start monitoring their students social media accounts to a certain degree. Hoover High School is is kind of ironic because my Dad, Uncle, and my Aunt attended that high school, and my Grandfather was a teacher there for a number of years, and there was and still is a big bullying problem at that school and in the Glendale USD. I think that if the school and school system can’t deal with the bullying problem anymore, then an outside source may be a good solution, like monitoring their students social media accounts.

  7. Daniel on February 10th, 2014 9:24 am

    Schools work constantly to keep their students safe. This has always been a good thing. However, if it is monitoring things that students do outside of school, then that could be a little weird. If cyber bullying occurs which affects the students learning process, then the school may have to step in. Students have the right to express their own opinion. The school cannot change that. If the student is being bullied, though, then the school may have to take certain steps to ensure that the educational service that they are providing is not impended. The student has rights, and the school has responsibility. The problem is simply finding the balance between the two.

  8. Shaniqua fat legs (; on February 10th, 2014 9:25 am

    In my opinion i think schools should be able to look over a students online profile if another student complains about bullying to an administrator. I do not think that schools should have power to just look over a student’s profile in search of something when there is no valid reason to do so. Its a little odd that schools that schools can see how you interact with your friends outside of school and even get you in trouble for something that is completely unrelated to school. I believe that if it affects someone’s learning and work then they should have the right to stop it but they also should not cross the line of freedom of speech

  9. Gracelandia (Gracelyn) on February 10th, 2014 9:26 am

    My opinion on this entire issue would have to be somewhere in the middle, but leaning towards disagreement. Although I can understand as to why you’d need someone to keep an eye out on the kids being harassed and bullied online, it’s strange that they’re always watching. We all have a right to freedom of speech but when an adult is constantly peeing over your shoulder to look at your screen you can’t say what you want. It’s even weird to tweet what I want when one of my church youth group’s peer leader is following me. You construct a tweet or post, look at it, think about it, and then end up deleting it because you’re afraid that you might possibly get in trouble. But then again, on twitter (for example) when people say something bad about someone, they don’t tag them or even mention the person’s name. It’s called ‘subtweeting’ and unless you’re super obvious about it nobody will ever know. So it makes me wonder how obvious someone could be in just a county away from us, how different do their minds work? Do they think that they can just get away with anything? But either way, it’s just plain weird to think about Mr. Bova snooping through my texts, monitoring my social media sites, and constantly watching what I do online, outside of school. I have nothing to hide but certain things should stay between friends and they shouldn’t get involved with the school administrators.

  10. Talia T. on February 10th, 2014 9:27 am

    In my opinion, schools should not be able to punish students for what they do online outside school. Companies, like Geo Listening, that are paid to monitor students are way too subjective to be calling the shots in what’s acceptable. Administrators who go over what’s reported aren’t robots; they have opinions like anyone else. These opinions will make what’s said online vastly over exaggerated or misconstrued. They don’t know that person, so why is it “their” business. It’s just weird; it’s like those horror films where the crazy stalker has pictures of his future victims on his wall before he finally kills them. The administrators are the crazed stalkers of the school district world. They say that they are protecting us from cyber bullying, when all actuality it makes us want to test the limits more and say more “inappropriate” things online. In my opinion that’s why school districts should not require the monitoring of a student’s online activity out of school.

  11. stephanie on February 10th, 2014 9:27 am

    In my opinion about the new law for schools monitoring students social life’s I think it is pretty good if used properly and only when it comes down to bullying. I think its good because it allows teachers to really see what type of bullying is going on and what are kids saying. The reason I think this law came up is because there has been a lot of suicides happening and most of them because of bullying and cyber bullying. Words affect students mostly more than physical actions. Some kids end their lives because of most words are really hurtful. It may not be none of the schools business of what students do online but when it comes down to their students safety it is their responsibility to keep all their students safe at school. The school shouldn’t just monitor everything students do though but only when it comes to the bullying they should. Students have the right to say whatever they want ‘freedom of speech’ but not misuse that. Teachers should only step in when there are real harmful threatening bullying.

  12. alex_america on February 10th, 2014 9:28 am

    With all of this going on, is it right or wrong? Should I support it or be against it? In my opinion i support it but I see what is wrong with it and what we need to do to change it to make it better for the students and the community. I like the part where the administrator can do something and can either pay someone or go and look at the social media sites and see if anyone is getting cyber bullied or harassed. This helps prevent teen suicides or early age depression and helps students have a fun and happy high school experience, instead of being constantly bullied. In other ways this can have some pretty bad repercussion can step over an imaginary line or boundary that can break the freedom of speech law or the first amendment. The administrators have all the power and control the fate of the students who post online. They can misjudge or even overlook cyber bullying. We need to define what the line is between freedom of speech and bullying online. Sometimes an act of humor or an act of the first amendment could be taken as cyber bullying and the student could get in trouble and even if it wasn’t what the administrator thinks it is.the administrator would really need to watch and make sure that what they think is cyber bullying really is to call both the students in and talk to them and ask them about the post and get their side of the story. This law could be really good for the students getting bullied but really bad for the students that get misjudge about their post or comment towards student or an this law there are a lot of grey areas. Places and things we don’t know, and can get kind of shady, it’s an unknown area of the law. This part of the law can either sink or swim one person it could be cyber bullying to the other is could be their freedom of speech.

  13. Alondra L. on February 10th, 2014 9:28 am

    Mostly everything we do online can be watched, but honestly schools shouldn’t interfere with what we do. In my believe I think if a student is well prepared and on task and doesn’t have any problems at school the school shouldn’t watch his or her social media. But my other reason would be if a student is actually being bullied and it’s not like in a friend way, they would have to actually tell the administration about the situation. Now that would actually be more considerate for the school to interfere on what the students is getting bullied on, in or out of school. There is also freedom of speech and sometimes we can over do it and cause something that might end up getting you suspended and or might not look good to the school. But to everything I basically said is to keep in mind that everything we end up doing or saying on media is going to stay forever so, make sure that your not mean to one another. But schools shouldn’t interfere unless it is really necessary, in a really bad situation.

  14. Alejandra Cx on February 10th, 2014 9:29 am

    In my own opinion us as students should have our own privacy whether at school or home. But it’s different in a way because if you do it at school then they should have the right. Anyways now that mostly of what you do is seen online, the school still check your social media. Well if you’re a bully then they might keep an eye on you just because it’s for the students safety. But if it happens at home and it effects a student at school the next day the principal should have the right to check our social media not the teachers. In a way like I said before if there is no problems you’re having then the school shouldn’t interfere with his or her social media. Although I would like to be safe at school I’d like to have my own privacy online.So please only check students online if they’re bullying or something other wise it would be stalking. 🙂

  15. Cameron Palmer on February 10th, 2014 9:31 am

    In my own opinion, schools shouldn’t really invade student’s property, or their web life. I believe that if school staff needs to go through a student’s property, they can easily ask for permission to look at student’s property to search for the cyberbully, not look for the cyberbully without giving the student a heads up that they’re searching their instagram, or facebook while the student is off campus. Anything out of school isn’t the school’s problem, but if the bullying on the internet concludes to people making fun of victim from that one mean post or picture, staff should at least help out that student by stopping the constant hurting of the victim. Let’s say the school searches some student’s posts or videos. They may not be the culprit, or they might be the bully, but after, students will find out the bully will be caught, and ask, “How do they know”? Knowing they search the internet now, people will question the school, or sue them, per say, for invading their space in the digital world. Glendale should acknowledge the fact that teens are getting a bit more private about their profiles on social networks, such as not even wanting to show family members their part of the web, and if they find out the school is searching them, they will probably freak out! Now, for the permission part, they’ll probably decline a search, because I know for a fact that students would talk to other people in chat rooms about stuff only they want to know, and if the school asks to view the chat, the students won’t be too easygoing. It may sound like a good idea, but it might start a riot between students and staff, so I do not agree to random searches on the internet for safety.

  16. Mackenzie S. on February 10th, 2014 11:02 am

    I think that teachers should not be able to monitor kids online outside of school. I thought that teachers were supposed to teach you, not discipline you; that’s you parent’s job. If the teachers at Foothill monitored what I put online, then I would probably delete my social media. I’m not like bullying people, I just want to have the freedom to say what I want without someone breathing down my neck. If a student was being cyber bullied by another student, then they should take it to the teachers, not the teachers come looking for them. I think that the teachers should only discipline the kids if it is necessary, not every time they find a “mean” comment. In conclusion, what happens at school should be taken care of in school, and what happens outside of school should be taken care of outside of school.

  17. Brooklyne Shepherd on February 10th, 2014 11:06 am

    In my personal opinion, I do not believe that it is right for school districts to hire companies to monitor social media for student’s safety. Although monitoring social networks prevents bullying, it infringes on the students right to freedom of speech. I find it okay to monitor what students do on their electronics during school hours only. But what students say and do outside of school is their business and the school has no right to scrutinize their actions outside of class. I understand that its main purpose is to control substances of self-harm, but it makes students begin to feel uncomfortable that what they are saying to their peers is no longer private. Policing student’s posts raises much controversy, as well as stirring heated debates between students on campus. In conclusion, it is not the school right to punish students for so called “mean” comments made to one another, but they do have the responsibility to take in to account everyday harm one student makes toward another student.

  18. jose on February 10th, 2014 11:09 am

    In my opinion i think that Glendale district should not have the right to pay people to spying on kids while they are on the internet. with the district spying on kids, we end up having no rights. like we would be watched,l and that is not fair.; they shouldn’t just spy on us, they should at least have a reason before checking what we do on the internet. they at least should give us some privacy, and trust. if we happen to break that trust, then they should have the right to look at what we do on the internet. we should go home thinking that we have space and freedom. but if people from the district are spying on us, then we won’t feel that freedom that we should have.

  19. Dylan on February 10th, 2014 11:11 am

    In my opinion, Schools should not monitor their students Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account. It is violating our personal privacy. The teachers are always saying how you are free and are not being watched all the time in this country but that is not true. I doubt the teachers would like it if we looked on their social media websites, but they can still do it to us. If someone is being cyber bullied then they should just tell their parents or one of the school administrators. Whilst I do believe that you should get detention or even suspended if we bully someone outside of school. I do not believe that the school should hire complete strangers to survey us and watch us. Not only is that creepy but it is also prying into our own privacy. We have a right to say whatever we want but we can’t be too rude. Unfortunately there are extremely offensive people out there with no sense of pride. Those types of racist and homophobic people are why we have to be watched by schools.

  20. Jacob on February 10th, 2014 11:12 am

    In my opinion the school administration should not have the right to look at any students social media profile to find any evidence of cyber-bullying. For the school administration to be violating a students right to privacy, shows how much they will do to do nothing and ignore the root of the problem such as cyber-bullying. The administration has for far too long ignored the root of the problem. Instead getting into the personal life of their students, they should be making sure that any claim of cyber-bullying is valid and the person that has been convicted of such an act is truly the person responsible. They have already violated their students rights to privacy. Why do they have to violate their students constitutional rights to the first amendment? The school administration has made many false accusations of bullying at their schools. These accusations of cyber-bullying can possibly be another false accusation. I believe that the only reason why the school administration should ever violate these rights that have been set in place by our government is if they have the authority to do so and if they have enough evidence that the student has been bullied.

  21. Emma on February 10th, 2014 11:12 am

    I think that theses things that students put things online are something that everybody can look at; so why does it matter that they are paying people to look at all of the students post. We put them on and we know that others could see it, so again why should we think that they are invading their privacy. On the other hand the school hiring people to watch their students on the weekends is going really far. Then the school being able to get the students in trouble is not something they should be doing. It is the parents jobs to watch their kids on the weekends and times they aren’t at school. The schools should be able to watch the students all the time, but not get them in trouble out of school. They should call the parents and asked them if they know what is happening and then tell them, not drag all the weekend things into the school. But the school has good intentions trying to help the kids that are being bullied. I think that helping the kids that are being cyber bullied is better than not trying to help the kids at all.

  22. Sarah on February 10th, 2014 11:13 am

    In my opinion I think that the school administration should not get into students personal social life on the media. It is not their business what students do outside of school unless it involves the school in some way like bullying, which happens in some cases. I am not their responsibility, once I walk off campus I am no ones responsibility but my parents, unless I bring my problems or personal life to school then they have all the right well with my consent, to go through my social media networks. Other than that they need to stay out of my business. I think it would be out of line and an invasion of privacy to go through my things without me knowing. I feel like if the administrators went through my things they might misinterpret what I am saying and get me in trouble for the wrong reason. Unless I bully someone and call them a mean name on Facebook while i’m in school then that would be a good time for the administrators to step in and maybe possibly punish me. But if I do something outside of school then they should not intervene unless it’s brought up to school by another student or the victimized student. So administrators stay out unless called in.

  23. Camila on February 10th, 2014 11:13 am

    Personally I don’t know whether I think that this a good thing or not. Right now, I can say that I’m not a fan of the school wanting to monitor what we do outside of school walls because in a way it’s kind of creepy. I mean, I do see where they’re coming from though because all they’re trying to do is keep us safe but honestly shouldn’t they just let us do it ourselves? Students should have their right to their own opinion without the help and parental over look from parents and/ or the school staff. I say that if it comes down to the student being bullied and harassed to the point where it affects their academics, then the school should be allowed to step in but otherwise they should just stay out of it and mind their own business because I’m sure that I don’t want to feel like I am being watched and monitored 24/7.

  24. megan on February 10th, 2014 11:14 am

    I think that they should not have people stalking the students Instagram, twitters, or even Facebook. it takes away a right of freedom of privacy. I don’t really put up anything that is bad but i don’t like that idea. my parents are in charge of me and they are the only people that should check those things. if someone is being cyber bullied tell their parents and let them deal with it. we go to school to learn and then we come home and then we shouldn’t be watched by anyone but our parents. It might be good for kids that don’t have good parents and they don’t check those things but if there is a problem then they should go talk to the counselor. that way the school doesn’t have to spend time and money on something they don’t have a right for. they already have so much on their minds why put another.

  25. Manish M. on February 10th, 2014 11:15 am

    In my opinion I believe that monitoring students social networks is an invasion of privacy. How would you like it if the school principal saw your tweets, facebook status, instagram posts etc. I know the main objective is to keep students safe from cyberbullying. But still monitoring something without notifying the parents of the students. Then on new years day a new law called the AB 256 passes stating that students will be punished if they are cyberbullying someone off campus. Yes it is the school job to protect students from getting cyber bullied but the district should know when not to cross the line. Overall I believe that monitoring students social networks is an invasion of privacy and wrong.

  26. Miriam M. on February 10th, 2014 11:15 am

    In my opinion, schools worldwide shouldn’t have the right to punish students for something that we posted online from off campus. They have no reason either for invading students privacy and stating it’s to keep us safe. Just the thought of having an administrator or hired company to look through a students social media posts is lack of respect. It’s simply not right. I think schools should be allowed to screen students, but only on campus or when they hear students talking about fights or suicide/homicide attempts or plans reported online. Otherwise, any school should not have the right to suspend a student for their misinterpretation of bullying. Cyber bullying on the other hand is not at all right either, but neither is students invasion of privacy online. Screening students media posts can cause a riot between the students parents and the students themselves.

  27. Aniah on February 10th, 2014 11:16 am

    I don’t think that its okay for schools to do that. The school only needs to to educate the students and to some extents protect them. The question is when does the extent of their protection end? Schools trolling the internet to check on students safety is understandable, but I feel that once the students leave campus the school is no longer in charge of their well being. If the student goes to someone apart of the schools’ staff and asked for help because they’re being cyber bullied, then it would be okay for the school to get into the problem. I would find it somewhat creepy if the district was monitoring my social media life.

  28. morgan on February 10th, 2014 11:17 am

    In my opinion i think that monitoring the students online activities should not be done by the school. If a parent is really concerned about what their kid is doing online or if they think they’re being bullied or are the bully, then they should monitor their kids accounts themselves. it shouldn’t be the school’s business. Also it would be a waste of money, i don’t know how much money it would cost but it doesn’t sound cheap, instead of using the money on this it could be used for student activities or other things instead of this. Also most of the articles we read in class never said anything about what the parents said about it or the district checking with the parents about monitoring their kids online except with some of the parents whose kids killed themselves over bullying there was no opinion of what some of the other parents say. Lastly I think i don’t think it would be a good idea just because its an invasion of the students privacy what kids do or say online is freedom of speech only if is affecting students at school should the school intervene.

  29. Niko on February 10th, 2014 11:17 am

    I think that schools have the right to look at certain things on their students social medias but there is a line that shouldn’t be crosses. I think that it’s okay for the school to look at their students public posts. Posting something for the public is saying that you want everyone to be able to see it so teachers and schools looking at it isn’t a very big deal. They just can’t hack their students account to look at their private settings and conversations I just don’t think that is right because the student made it private for a reason. The school should also look into a post before calling it bullying. That student could have been being sarcastic with their friends but you wouldn’t know that unless you looked into it or you knew the person. They also need to look to see if someone is being mean to someone else repeatedly and if the person is really trying to hurt the other person. If it’s just a one time thing they that’s not bullying. The school should only but in if they see someone is purposely being mean to someone repeatedly but otherwise they should just stay out of it. This doesn’t really affect me because I don’t really use social media. I know people who are really upset about this because they use social media all the time and they don’t want their teachers or administrators snooping about their social media. There just needs to be a limit about what the school can do and they need to know what they are doing.

  30. Sidney S. on February 10th, 2014 11:18 am

    I think that monitoring students social media is intruding on their rights of privacy. When the school or anyone in general monitors you it makes you uncomfortable. Don’t you deserve freedom of speech? Even though the main objective is preventing cyberbullying, how do you define the line between aware and over-controlling? I feel that just the fact that students are not aware of what is happening is very unfair. Students should have the ability to express themselves. However, I also agree that some supervision is a good thing. Some people can go too far and monitoring that is beneficial. So I guess the question becomes how far is too far? If you misinterpret something it causes many problems. I think that teachers and parents commonly misinterpret things that the younger generations do. So I think that monitoring with reason is a good thing, but they should consider the feelings of students.

  31. Ian on February 10th, 2014 11:18 am

    Do I think that Glendale Unified School District’s choice to monitor their students online postings was a good one? Do I think that the new law titled AB 256 is acceptable? I think that both of these are good but, can be horribly misused. I don’t want the schools to monitor all posts but, I think they should be able to monitor under certain circumstances. I think that if they have probable cause that a student was online bullying or doing other heinous acts then, the school should be able to see their online posts. An example of this would be; if someone anonymously tells the school that Juan is cyberbullying Maria then, the school has probable cause to go on his twitter, facebook, etc. and see his posts. under these circumstance i believe that this law would be ok. What i’m afraid of is, the school restricting our freedom of speech. They might begin to authorize on opinions, such as “John is a terrible quarterback and person.” If the school begins to do this, this is where I believe where the law must change. The school enacting on these types of situations is completely unacceptable. I think that the law and Glendale have good intentions but, may be used for pure evil.

  32. Ulises Salgado on February 10th, 2014 1:03 pm

    My opinion is that schools should be able to monitor students social account but should only do it when it affects the learning of one or more students and with significant proof of the cyberbullying taking place on the social media. They should not be able to punish student on the thing they do online during the weekends. For the most part these acts do not affect school or learning time. The school should not have the power to suspend students outside of school.

  33. Jaden on February 10th, 2014 6:35 pm

    My opinion is that people should have reasonable consequences for their actions. Hopefully taught a lesson, and do their best to fix their problem. They should know that what they do online in or outside of school can still affect you, and that if they know what’s really going on, they can interfere with consequences for the bully, who is putting the victim in a hard situation.

  34. Dan on February 10th, 2014 7:06 pm

    I think schools should not be able to view or monitor students posts made outside of school. Unless the school is known for having bullying take place on campus or online in the case of cyber bullying. But at the same time I think it’s wrong to wait till someone commits suicide before taking action to stop it. At some schools they have taken action to stop cyber bullying by paying companies to monitor the posts of students on social media networks. But they could definitely waste less time if they somehow could only view posts with certain words. I think there is a very fine line between privacy invasion and cyber bully protection when it comes to monitoring students posts. I also think the new law AB256 has a good description of bullying. I don’t know my full opinion on law AB256 because I don’t think the article showed the whole law. But from what the article showed I think it’s good. As long as the school district doesn’t over use the monitoring.

  35. Ruth on February 11th, 2014 11:42 am

    In my opinion the district should be allowed to monitor students online, as long as their profiles are public. With the allowing of online monitoring there should also be boundaries, for example the district should only interfere when a problem is being brought up to them, or when something has just gone too far. With the social media now being a huge impact in everyone’s lives there should be some kind of protection. Cyber bullying is very common especially in teens and can lead to anxiety, depression, and suicide. If a victim is being bullied and is afraid to speak up, school districts should be able to step in if it is affecting the student at school.

  36. Shayla on February 11th, 2014 1:34 pm

    It has come to the day in age where everything mostly revolves around the internet/social media. In my opinion I do not think it is right to monitor students online, but at the same time there can be some good to this situation. I do not think schools should go so far as to hire companies to watch what students do online. I feel like it should be more of the parents/guardians responsibility to monitor what their kids are doing online and the schools shouldn’t be watching students online life. Where as if bullying was taking place online then it should not be a problem for them to monitor students online profile. On the other hand, students should not get in trouble for what they do outside of school. For example, if Bob was stating his own opinion, he should not get in trouble by the school because Johnny disagrees with him and got his feelings hurt. This is totally going against our first amendment- freedom of speech. Also, people can misinterpret a comment someone says to a friend, or a student is going to counseling because they were “bullied” while another student IS being bullied, and threatened by other classmates and nothing is happening to stop the bullies. Administrators can take these comments or post the wrong way and not really look at the real situations that are taking place.

  37. Eloise on February 11th, 2014 8:14 pm

    In my opinion, it is totally weird that there is a law that states that schools can punish students for cyberbullying that happens outside of school. Firstly, I think that it is very strange that schools are paying companies, like Geo Listening, to snoop around on their private social media. I feel like that makes the students think that they do not have any freedom of speech because they are getting punished for what they are saying. Secondly, administration can maybe take something that a student said to a friend wrong and think that maybe it was hurtful when it was just supposed to be funny

  38. Dylan on February 12th, 2014 8:27 am

    My opinion to weather or not it is right for schools to be able to punish/expel kids for what they post and say on there Twitter and Instagram accounts, but i think that they should not be able to do that because if it doesn’t have anything to do with school then they shouldn’t be involved in what kids say and do/post online. I also don’t think that its their place to confront someone at school for what they said or posted online outside of school.

  39. Axel on February 12th, 2014 9:02 am

    In my opinion schools shouldn’t pay companies to monitor their students on facebook, twitter and other social media sites. So that they don’t bully another student son the social media which they do outside of school and why do school have the power to punish those student. school and social media are nothing alike in one you learn and the other is just your own business. Also well schools should be just the people that stop it on the school grounds and not act like your parents because you already have some. I appreciate that schools will go out of their way to help some students but they’re sometimes overstepping the boundaries.

  40. Nancy H. on February 12th, 2014 7:32 pm

    In my opinion, I think it’s not ok to hire anyone to check kids social media account for any reason. First off a kids social media is something the kid and the parents control. The school has nothing to do with a kids social media. Especially when the kid is on it at home! If they’re bullying someone at school, then it’s the schools problem and choice on what to do about it. The whole law they made about how California public schools to punish students for cyberbullying that occurs off campus is ridiculous. At home the parent is responsible for their child. At school it’s then the school’s responsibilities. The only time the school should get involved in it when it happens to the child at home, should be when the child goes to them. Not them going to the child. Secondly, when someone is looking at someone’s profile on anything like Facebook and Instagram etc., which is even creepier when someone pays you, that’s kind of called stalking. Which I think is illegal. I don’t know if that counts as a reason but I’m sticking with it.


Comments on articles are screened and those determined by editors to be crude, overly mean-spirited or that serve primarily as personal attacks will not be approved. The Editorial Review Board, made up of 11 student editors and a faculty adviser, make decisions on content.

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EDITORIAL: School administrators should exercise caution when using new legal powers to punish cyberbullies