The Vernon county board of supervisors has approved a new ordinance that makes it a criminal offense to send electronic messages that annoy, offend or ridicule, following the adoption of similar laws in the county’s municipalities. The new law states that anyone who uses any electronic device “to annoy, offend, demean, ridicule, degrade, belittle, disparage or humiliate” can face up to $500 in fines and up to 30 days in the county jail if the fine is not paid.
The law does not specifically target students, but Vernon County Sheriff John Spears said he thinks that teenagers will be the ones most affected by the law. Spears said the county views the law as a new tool to combat cyber bullying. “We felt this would be a tool to help us with education and enforcement in cyber bullying,” Spears said. “We understand some young people make bad choices.”
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