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Juvenile Justice Case Law Essay

1290 words - 6 pages

Running Head: Juvenile Justice

Juvenile Justice Case Law

Capella University
PSF5372 - History of the Juvenile Justice System

Approximately 12, 8-10 year old children commit suicide every year because they are victims of bullying, whereas 1.3 million children a year bully others. Recent incidents of school violence have brought bullying to the nation’s attention in a dramatic way. Research shows that approximately 30% of teens in the United States either bully, are targets of bullying, or both (National Youth, n.d.).

Some bullies attack their targets physically, which can mean anything from shoving or tripping to punching or hitting, or even sexual assault. Others ...view middle of the document...

Several people contributed to running the faked account, including Drew. Witnesses testified that the women intended to use Meier’s e-mails with "Josh" to get information about her and later humiliate her, in retribution for her allegedly spreading gossip about Drew's daughter, later this prompted Meier’s suicide. A year later, Meier's parents prompted an investigation into the matter and her suicide was attributed to cyber-bullying through the social networking website MySpace. The mother of a friend of Meier, Lori Drew, was later indicted on the matter in 2008, but in 2009, Drew was acquitted.
This case had caused several jurisdictions to consider legislation prohibiting harassment over the Internet. The Board of Aldermen for the City of Dardenne Prairie passed a law on November 22, 2007, in response to the incident. The law prohibits any harassment that utilizes an electronic medium, including the Internet, text messaging services, pagers, and similar devices. Violations of the ordinance are treated as misdemeanors, with fines of up to $500 and up to 90 days imprisonment.
There are laws that include statutes that mandate that school boards must adopt policies to address cyber-bullying, statutes that criminalize harassing minors online, and statutes providing for cyber-bullying education. There is a fine line between bullying behavior and criminal offenses. Litigation has escalated in recent years as more attention is given to the negative impact of bullying, harassment, and hate within schools. Legal analysis related to bullying is extremely complex and cases range from claims of negligence by the school district to federal civil rights claims, such as racial harassment. In some instances, the claim is further complicated when the bully or the victim is a student with a disability (Zirkel, 2005). Bullying is not a legal term, and parents and students have been more successful in cases alleging harassment, which is actionable if the harassment is due to race, ethnicity, religion, disability, or gender (Conn, 2005).
A majority of states have laws that explicitly include electronic forms of communication within stalking or harassment laws. Most law enforcement agencies have cyber-crime units and often Internet stalking is treated with more seriousness than reports of physical stalking. The safety of schools is increasingly becoming a focus of state legislative action.
Lawmakers are focusing their efforts on stopping the cycle of violence before it begins. Prior to Columbine (1999), only three states had passed anti-bullying laws. Since that time, 32 states have enacted anti-bullying laws and 8 others have been actively pursuing anti-bullying legislation (Bully Police USA, n.d.).

The United States Supreme Court have addressed the free speech rights of students in a cyber-bullying perspective, but past cases are helpful in predicting how such a situation might be resolved by the court. It is firmly established that students do not lose...

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