Nearly two-dozen new laws went into effect on Saturday including one important item that extends a North Carolina crime against cyber-bullying to also provide protection to school employees.
The new law will mean that students who use a computer to intimidate or threaten school employees will face criminal penalties. Existing laws in the state already made it illegal for cyber-bulling to target other children. The new law makes it a misdemeanor for students to commit various online offenses against school employees, such as creating false profiles, signing them up for Internet porn or posting personal images and private information.
The roots of the new law began about five years ago when a teacher in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools discovered that someone had created a fake MySpace page in his name and posted material implying he was a pedophile. Charlotte-Mecklenburg School investigators traced the profile to students at Providence High and charged those students with cyber-stalking.
The North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said the new law may be the first of its kind in the country and that isn’t meant as a good thing. Instead, the civil rights group says it intends to challenge the new law in court. The organization’s policy director, Sarah Preston, says students have written nasty things about teachers since the beginning of time and that doing so should not be illegal just because the writing was done electronically.
The ACLU says the new law gives law enforcement officials too much discretion, raising the prospect that students could face charges for criticizing administrators or even accurately reporting offensive comments made by a teacher. The group also says that the penalty for such remarks, up to 60 days in jail or a $1,000 fine, is far too severe.
Though making nasty remarks online may not seem like a big deal, if your child has been charged with such a crime you should take action and consult an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney right away. After all, a criminal charge such as this could affect college admission and job opportunities for your child in the long-term.
The North Carolina criminal defense lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC will provide you with the best possible defense against any charges brought against you. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828.
Source: “N.C. may be first state to charge students with cyber crimes,” by Ann Doss Helms, published at CharlotteObserver.com
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