Local District Attorney Explains Cyber-bullying Law
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|1 May, 2012|
A leading Monroe attorney is sending a message that cyber-bullying will not be tolerated. Jerry Jones says the state’s anti-cyber-bullying law is aimed at protecting children. And school administrators in Monroe say there are lots of places where the law can be applied.
One of the most talked about issues at ULM’s inaugural school law conference on April 30 was cyber-bullying.
Jerry Jones is the District Attorney for Ouachita and Morehouse Parishes.
Anti-Cyber-bullying Law Protects against Defamation
He says that bullies are active in cyberspace, and the damage they cause can be devastating.
“The damage done by a public attack on their character, on their lifestyle, is rough. Some of the things I have seen on the Internet, Facebook, texting, whatever about young people is horrible. Some of it is pornographic.”
Louisiana’s cyber-bullying bill became law in 2010. Jones describes its reach.
“It’s the communication of any information via the electronic media that is intended, now you’ve got to have an intent here, to expose anyone to ridicule, embarrassment, etcetera.”
It’s designed to protect children.
“The victim must be under the age of 18, now the defendant of course, can be any age."
Cyber-bullying Common Occurrence
John Russell is the Community Specialist for Monroe City Schools. He says there is great need for such a law.
“The problem that we deal with, with cyber-bullying is specifically with texts, specifically with Face Book.”
Russell says that too often parents miss clues available online.
“Parents are not aware that their child has been tormented through cyber media.”
West Monroe High School student, Hamilton Winters, describes some potential dangers of social media.
“Whatever you put on Face Book or Twitter, or wherever you want to put it on the Internet, I don’t think teenagers nowadays know as well as they should that that’s always going to be there.”
Jerry Jones says that those messages can lead to a teenager becoming depressed – to the point of suicide. The District Attorney has a message for anyone considering engaging in cyber-bullying.
“It’s a crime and you can go to jail for it. It’s a $500, six month penalty.”
Jones says cyber-bullying will be vigorously prosecuted in Ouachita and Morehouse Parishes.
Air Date: Tue, 05/01/2012