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Cyberbullying And The First Amendment

Cyberbullying And The First Amendment

Cyberbullying And The First Amendment

Bullying is threatening another person due to their characteristics or manner of being. Bullying has been documented to occur in various settings, including passing notes in class, writing on the toilet wall, and verbal communication. Over time, technology has expanded rapidly, bringing new methods of attracting attention. With the rapid expansion of social media platforms and digital products everywhere, billions of individuals can access any opinion expressed in words. Bullying is something a kid must deal with, and the school and the legal system handle the legal aspects of bullying. They accomplish this by addressing bullying in school regulations, taking into account the First Amendment rights of the attacker, and developing solutions that uphold the law while safeguarding the victim.

The Follow-Up to Cyberbullying

Because the victim of cyberbullying may conceal themselves behind the internet’s facade, and it has a unique power over them. It may be compared to scrawling something offensive on the restroom wall. The difference is that they can do it from home, may engage in drawn-out social media conflicts, and the communications are frequently available for public consumption.

School Bullying Policies

The definition of bullying and the actions the school takes when bullying happens are covered in great detail in the policies Lawton Public School has prepared for students, parents, and staff.

Bullying definition in Lawton Public Schools policy manual: According to the School Bullying Prevention Act, “bullying” is defined as any pattern of harassment, intimidation, threatening behavior, physical acts, verbal abuse, or electronic communication directed toward a student or group of students that has the potential to disrupt or interfere with the educational process at the school and is done to harm the targeted person or group’s physical or academic performance.

Students must sign a pledge each school year to follow the student conduct code of behavior. This information is included in every student handbook and information on the penalties students will face for breaking these rules. When a student is suspected of bullying another student, the principal is informed immediately. An investigation is launched after receiving copies of online postings or other supporting documentation. The victim is advised to call law authorities if it appears that a crime was committed. The principal will act in accordance with the school policy if the discipline code of conduct is violated. Within three days of the investigation’s conclusion, the conclusions will be communicated to the parents of both the accuser and the accused. The Lawton Public School favors corrective action over punishment. There are 13 steps in the remedial action and repercussions, starting with conferences and counseling and concluding with local authorities’ involvement and suspension (Lawton Public School Board, 2020).

First Amendment Defenses of Online Bullying

The cyberbully can believe they can express themselves in any way they like online, via text, or email. One common defense used by bullies is that they were merely expressing their opinions, that what they said was misunderstood, and that they were within their First Amendment rights to do so. Many schools are currently making a significant transition from traditional learning to virtual learning. The frequency of cyberbullying incidents can increase as a result. Due to this modification, the student might also contend that they weren’t using school property or engaging in it during school hours. As a result, the school cannot file a complaint against them for cyberbullying another kid.

A Bully’s First Amendment Rights and Reactions

Most cyberbullying occurs through social media, internet messaging, or text messages.

Most of these events occur when the bully is at home rather than a school because of school policy restrictions. Because cyberbullying is not criminal in every state, the issue of accountability remains. Cyberbullying becomes the school’s responsibility if the victim is changed in a way that affects how school is conducted or if it occurs during school hours. If the occurrence fell within such bounds and the inquiry establishes the existence of cyberbullying. That indicates that the student has violated the discipline code of conduct and will consequently face corrective action based on the severity of the incident and the number of incidents. According to the legal defense, the student broke a rule of conduct that they pledged to uphold. Both arguments in B v. Itawamba County School Board and Kowalski v. Berkeley County Schools demonstrated how a student interfered with class time and school operations. A student may also file a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, charging an equal protection violation depending on the specifics of the cyberbullying (Sickles, 2012).


The actions of a cyberbully either fall under local authority jurisdiction or the school where the victim goes when attacking a student, teacher, or another staff member.

Everyone has the right to free speech, but a person may break other rules and laws depending on how it is exercised. People do not have to express anything and everything just because they have the right to speak. It will be easier for the student and the school to cope with bullying if they consider the evaluation of bullying in school policy, the potential answers a bully may make in compliance with the First Amendment, and the options available to respond to the bully.


Lawton Public School Board. (2020, January 8). Lawton Public School Policy Handbook.

Sickles, C. (2012). Bridging the Liability Gap: How Kowalski’s Interpretation of Reasonable Foreseeability Limits School Liability for Inaction in Cases of Cyberbullying.


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A student notifies you that she has been subjected to bullying through a classmate’s Facebook page.

Cyberbullying And The First Amendment

Cyberbullying And The First Amendment

500-750 words addressing the following:

  1. Provide the steps you are required to take that are consistent with state statutes, your district’s school board policies, the faculty handbook, and the student handbook;
  2. Any First Amendment arguments you think the student with the Facebook page may raise; and
  3. Responses you could make to the First Amendment arguments that are consistent with the cases in the assigned readings.

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