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Expansion of Illinois’ Cyberbullying Law Awaits Senate Approval

www.endcyberbullying.org

Earlier this month, HB4207, an expansion of the anti-bullying legislation adopted in 2010, was passed in the State House with an 85-21 vote.

Under current law, the bullying must take place on school grounds, at a school activity, or on a school computer for the bully face disciplinary action.

State Representative Laura Fine(D-Glenview), who sponsored the bill, commented, “through the Internet, social media and cell phones, students can face constant harassment, which impedes their education and damages their self-esteem. This legislation aims to hold bullying children accountable for their actions regardless of where it occurs.”

The expansion bill would apply to cyberbullying that “causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly operation of a school,” but would only apply “in cases in which a school administrator or teacher receives a report.” However, the bill does not require a district or school to “staff or monitor any nonschool-related activity, function, or program.”

In addition, this bill requires districts and schools to “provide the victim with information regarding services that are available within the district and community, such as counseling, support services, and other programs,” but does not specify any disciplinary action taken to those who are found guilty of cyberbullying.