Bill would make cyber-bullying criminal act in AL - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Bill would make cyber-bullying criminal act in AL

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WAFF) -

An Alabama state senator wants to charge students with a crime if they're caught cyber-bullying. State Senator Arthur Orr is sponsoring Senate Bill 104. The legislation also requires teachers and other school employees to report any cyber-bullying they're aware of.

According to SB 104, if you're caught cyber-bullying, then you could face a Class-C misdemeanor. 

READ: Full bill text (PDF)

Under Alabama law, anyone charged with a Class-C misdemeanor faces up to three months in jail. 

Orr said he had no idea until recently how big cyber-bullying had become. The state senator said mobile apps and other social media have only made it worse. 

His intent with SB 104 is to stop teenagers from attempting to or committing suicide because of online rumors other students post about them. 

The state senator said that's exactly what happened to a Montgomery student who took her life within the last year. 

There is an anti-bullying law already on the Alabama books, but SB 104 takes it one step farther by addressing online and social media bullying.

“[Anyone] can put that false information out to hundreds and thousands with the click of the mouse,” said Orr. “This is not something spreading gossip in the school house play yard. This is something that goes out to potentially the whole school.”

The bill would also provide immunity from civil liability for anyone who reports cyber-bullying.

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