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School Districts' Ability to Combat Cyberbullying Given A Boost By a New Law.
   Effective January 1, 2009, the California Education Code will be amended to explicitly authorize school districts to suspend or expel students for bullying, including cyberbullying. Under the new law, acts of bullying by using the Internet (e.g., social networking sites, email), text-messaging, or other electronic devices (including telephones) can be grounds of discipline.
   Assembly Bill 86 defines bullying as an act by a student or group of students directed specifically against other students or school personnel that constitutes sexual harassment, hate violence, or severe or pervasive intentional harassment, threats, or intimidation that is disruptive, cause disorder, and invades the rights of others by creating an intimidating or hostile education environment. The definition includes acts that are committed in-person or by electronic means.
   While giving school districts officials the specific authority to suspend or expel students for bulling, Assembly Bill 86 allows disciplinary action to be taken whether harassment is committed physically, verbally, or electronically. School districts are still required to show a nexus between student misconduct and "school activity or school attendance."
   Should you have any questions reguarding Assembly Bill 86 and its impact on any matter(s) in your district, please contact 323.330.6300.
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