Fort Plain, NY asked in Civil Rights and Education Law for New York

Q: Can I get in trouble with school for online harassment?

I was talking to this kid online, confronting him on things that he does. He starts saying that I’m harassing him. This was all online, off school campus, not during school hours, and it was all on my personal phone. Now I want to know if the school can actually punish me for that. I literally only called him toxic. I don’t believe I can be punished for this, but it’s whatever. I would like your advice since this intrigues me.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Lori E. Arons
Lori E. Arons
  • Education Law Lawyer
  • Hackensack, NJ
  • Licensed in New York

A: Possibly. A frequently used definition of cyberbullying is "an aggressive, intentional act or behavior that is carried out by a group or an individual, using electronic forms of contact, repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself," but there are many variations of the definition. Whether your actions rise to the level of cyberbullying will depend on the entirety of the facts and the applicable definition of cyberbullying. You can check your school's policies and school handbook as well as your state's law on the subject. Choose kind.

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