The cyberbullying bill failed in Senate committee today, but it was amended to make the ACLU neutral on the bill. The ACLU had objected to a provision that said it could be bullying if speech forced a teacher to interrupt instruction to deal with a disruption. Our source says the amendment likely means the bill will come out of committee next week.
I still don't like a bill that includes teachers and staff, rather than just students, as objects of bullying. There are ample ways to cope with students who threaten staff in school. But giving staff the leeway to interpret silly cartoons on the Internet as threats and use a state law to go after the students who draw them is just wrong. And that's what this bill, ultimately, is about. Not so muchh kids, but salving the pride of Greenwood school officials who overreacted and then lost a lawsuit over Internet postings of bright high school students. It also is an attempt by school people to reach into kids' homes. Dubious.
For those of you had hoped the payday lending bill would come up today -- this is the one to make it clear that payday lending should fall under the constitutional usury provision -- it was delayed by an amendment. The bill will be a special order of business next Wednesday.