There are limits to everything. Life is about choices and the choices you make. You are granted free speech with the First Amendment. However, there are limitations to that freedom that are not protected. For instance with obscenity or presenting danger like yelling fire in a crowded theater. No one is truly safe from bullying it can happen on or offline. What you chose to post, tweet, share, etc on your own time will obviously be affected by others. However the school should not decide to take matter into their own hands when rather it should be the parents. Schools should not be able to limit the online speech of students because it violates the First Amendment.
Schools believe they can intervene because it becomes a distraction during the classroom. In a press release, the Association of Teachers and Lectures and Teacher Support Network asserted only 15.1% of teachers have been a victim of cyberbullying. The percentage is significantly low. Perhaps being that teachers are adults are way more mature than a student. The press also stated the perpetrator of the cyberbullying were 44.2% students.
They are old enough to know to not let what a student said to them or about them affect them. If that were the case, then our learning process would be greatly disturbed due to the teaching outcome of the affected teacher.
A student (J.S.) created a profile mocking and offending their principal online on their own time. The school wanted to suspend J.S. but could not because of Freedom of the Speech. The profile did not pose a direct threat to the principal so they could not punish the student. At school, students must follow school policies. When off-campus, students listen to their parents rules. Limiting how much kids can be online at home is not the schools responsibility, bur rather the parents. The school can make as many rules concerning the internet as they like but parents are the ones making rules for when the students are not on school grounds. Blue Mountain School District stated, “the facts simply do not support the conclusion that the school district could have reasonably forecasted a substantial disruption”.
Cyberbullying is mistaken to solely be on the internet but has been around since long before. In a statement submitted to the Congressional Subcommittee Hearing on Cyberbullying, the ACLU wrote “the occurrence of cyberbullying has also received attention recently and in a rush to address this problem, lawmakers have forgotten that bullying has been around since long before the internet”. No one is truly safe from being bullied it can happen in person face to face where no one witnesses it, by phone, or even in school stalls where your name can be vandalized. There are already restrictions within each app that limit what you can and cannot do.
Although, many might disagree with me because yes the student victims would fear coming to school or might even harm themselves increasing the suicide rates. It can also enhance the already widespread problem of bullying.
Overall, schools should not be able to limit online speech because it goes against the First Amendment it should be the parents controlling internet time off of school grounds, and it could prevent kids from learning social skills. Limiting online speech would only further cause multiple issues and should not be enforced as a rule.