Abstract

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The Best Intentions: A Constitutional Analysis of North Carolina’s New Anti-Cyberbullying Statute


Michael R. Gordon


CFRA Research; University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law

December 24, 2009

North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology Online Edition, Vol. 11, p. 48

Abstract:     
Cyberbullying, which is bullying using technology and/or the Internet, is a new phenomenon that has devastating effects as demonstrated by the suicide of Megan Meier as a result of cyberbullying over MySpace. To address the problem, the 2009 North Carolina General Assembly passed and the governor signed HB 1261, “Protect Our Kids/Cyber Bullying Misdemeanor,” which criminalizes a large set of behaviors. This Recent Development analyzes the constitutionality based on existing First Amendment jurisprudence, including the Brandenburg v. Ohio imminent lawlessness test and the Watts v. United States true threat test. Most of the provisions of the new law fall short of these tests and are thus likely unconstitutional. As a result of vagueness as well as undefined and confusing terms in the law, it also may have a chilling effect on the exercise of free speech.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 24

Keywords: cyberbullying, law, internet, computers, first amendment, free speech, true threat, north carolina, education, school

JEL Classification: K42, K30, K39

Accepted Paper Series


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Date posted: October 8, 2009 ; Last revised: May 18, 2014

Suggested Citation

Gordon, Michael R., The Best Intentions: A Constitutional Analysis of North Carolina’s New Anti-Cyberbullying Statute (December 24, 2009). North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology Online Edition, Vol. 11, p. 48. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1469707

Contact Information

Michael R. Gordon (Contact Author)
CFRA Research ( email )
11140 Rockville Pike
Suite 590
Rockville, MD 20852
United States
(646)517-2461 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.cfraresearch.com
University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law ( email )
Van Hecke-Wettach Hall, 160 Ridge Road
CB #3380
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380
United States
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