Schools should be allowed to limit students’ online speech because cyberbullying affects kids at school and is just as bad as real bullying.
One reason students’ speech should be limited is cyberbullying. I believe cyberbullying has an effect similar to real bullying and disrupts the learning environment. A joint press release from the Association of Teachers and the Teacher Support Network shows the percentage of people affected by bullying and how badly it hurt them or their ability to work. About 62% of people bullied online had a decrease in self esteem or ability to work, some even feeling ill and stressed to the point they weren’t able to work at all.
Another reason is that it is the schools’ obligation to punish bullies in order to protect students’ rights to speech. If the schools’ fail to protect their students from online harassment, they can get in legal trouble. The schools’ need to have harsher punishments to keep students from bullying others while at the same time allowing students to have free speech. Laura W. Murphy states, “lawmakers have forgotten that bullying has been around since long before the internet” (Murphy) implying lawmakers aren’t doing enough to punish bullies and harassers.
Last reason is that the schools’ must protect students from discrimination. There are anti discrimination laws that protect people and if the schools’ fail to punish bullies they are just as guilty. Russlyn Ali of the US Department of Education wrote to school administrators stating, “a school’s anti-bullying policy also may trigger responsibilities under one or more of the federal antidiscrimination laws” (Ali). This means that anti-bullying rules and policies must be in line with federal laws and be taken as serious as those laws.