A bill sponsored by State Sen. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) moved one step closer to becoming law on Wednesday. Senate Bill 126 would impose a strict duty on school administrators to report various forms of student-on-student bullying. Specifically, it prohibits school administrators from knowingly failing to report to law enforcement authorities menacing by stalking or telecommunications harassment that occurs on school grounds; it requires boards of education to adopt policies prohibiting bullying by electronic means; requires school districts' harassment policy to address acts that occur off school property but that materially disrupt the educational environment of the school; requires a school district to provide yearly training on the district’s bullying policy for district employees and volunteers; and lastly, the Bill would require school districts to notify students' parents or guardians if the annual training is not completed.
Cyber-bullying includes the repeated use of the internet, cell phones, and other technology to harass, threaten, intimidate, spread rumors, or create a hostile online environment.
“Schools need to be pro-active in educating students and parents about responsible use of technology at school,” said Sen. Fedor.
If the bill becomes law, school administrators should expect to become more vigilant about their students’ cyber activities and interactions, including communications on social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook, as well as text messages.