Is cyberbullying at a Goodyear high school illegal?

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by Crystal Cruz

azfamily.com

Posted on April 5, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 5 at 2:23 PM

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Millennium High School Meme Facebook page is fairly new. On Wednesday the page already showed nearly 500 fans.

There are demeaning posts, or memes, up and down the page.

One post called the Millennium High School principal a bad name.

“It suggested that teachers watched child porn,” said one student.

Millennium students are also being targeted.

Someone posted a picture of a young lady and a caption saying, "Has no boyfriend."

Principal John Speer asked Facebook employees to take the page down.

“Their definition of bullying and harassment sure seems to fit what’s going on on this page," Speer said. "Their response to me was they didn't see anything inappropriate and they [Facebook] wouldn't take it down."

School officials are trying to find out who created this page. The identities of the creators are masked by fake names.

Both the principal and district superintendent said this is a case of cyberbullying.

“I didn't see anything criminal at this time,” said Lt. Scott Benson with the Goodyear Police Department.

While the page is mean-spirited, Benson said the posts aren't illegal -- at least not yet.

“If it becomes very derogatory or becomes slanderous you will have a civil issue there as well, outside of the criminal issue," Benson said. "If there's any type of threats that’s something of course we would deal with."

Some students said the posts are no longer entertaining.

“They're saying that people took things too far," said a student. "It was kind of funny, but they got way too into it."

Speer said the Arizona School Boards Association is looking to beef up its bullying policy to include digital media and cyberbullying.

If the Boards Association agrees to alter the policy, schools across the state could also follow suit.

 

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