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    Reputation Protection Attorneys

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After a pair of 16-year-olds from Essex Vermont were taken to family court after allegedly driving a high-school student to try to kill herself.

After investigation of an attempted suicide ended with criminal charges for two 16-year-olds. The teenage girl left with permanent liver damage by trying to overdose on acetaminophen.  Communities across the U.S. are trying to consider how to deal with cyberbulling.

"I think on a general bullying thing it happens more than we realize. To this level, it's actually very rare. We have a school resource officer who works with the school on a regular basis. But for it to get to the point where police are making a juvenile delinquency case is pretty rare," said Colchester Police Chief Doug Allen.

The advice to parents is to connect with your children so you can find out if they are being bullied or if they are hurting others. Notice how they speak about others both online and in person.

Most importantly, model empathy. Use your life experience to help them understand what another student may be going through.

So often our kids jump to quick judgments about one another based on the soundbites that they see on social media.  Let's give grace, show kindness and save lives, let's not drag each other down.

As for what happens to the 16-year-olds, chief Allen says it's likely the case will go into a reparations process in family court. He describes it as a process that tries to bring closure to both the victim and the offenders.

OhiostateSealofOhioH.B. 116 (Jessica Logan Act)

Ohio Governor Kasich has signed into law House Bill 116 (also known as the "Jessica Logan Act", in memory of a student who committed suicide due to bullying via texting).

The bill expands the current anti-bullying law to prohibit harassment by electronic means. This includes harassment, intimidation, and bullying through computers, cell phones, or other electronic devices.

The Ohio School Plan supports efforts to create a safe educational environment through both risk transfer through our coverage documents and through risk management policies and procedures.

The Ohio School's documents do not exclude bullying or liability arising out of chat rooms, bulletin boards or other types of social media. While each situation must be evaluated individually,  it is the intent of the Ohio School Plan to protect the schools from the liability created by House Bill 116 and its predecessors addressing bullying.

In addition, House Bill 116 requires school districts to amend their anti-bullying policies and procedures to address the following.

Victim Of Cyber bullyingIs it possible to sue when being harassed online?

It can be difficult.

If it is harming you as an individual or as a business, the first thing to do is consult an attorney - that's us.

It is illegal if you are being harassed online and the perpetrator can be prosecuted. 

Making a case, however, may be difficult.  If the perpetrator is posting anonymously, it may be difficult to find their real identity.  This is usually done through trace routing and back tracking their internet address.  To do this, you will need a court order.

Most Internet Providers are reluctant to reveal information about their customers.  When they are given a court order, they are forced to reveal the person associated with the internet address.   Unfortunately, sometimes the particular internet address does not lead to a specific person.  For example, if the person is using a computer at a library or school, it is more difficult to identify a person.  

If it is determined that the bully or perpetrator is in another state, most prosecutors do not force extradition for a misdemeanor charge of harassment.

Filing a lawsuit against the person, is possible; and that is where we help.  You need to determine the cost of the harm to you by pursuing a court case.  For Cyberbullying the unacceptable cost is the emotional damage.  For a business, the cost / harm to your business could be in the millions.

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stop being harassed.
In any case, the first step is having a court issue an "order of protection."  This act prohibits the person from contact, including electronic contact.   If the person continues, then he could be prosecuted for violation of the court order. 

We can help with this first step.

Can you sue for cyberbullying?

The Cyberbullying Research Center (CRC) defines it as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.”CBRC link image

Using that as the definition, victims of cyberbullying could potentially bring a legal claim against the perpetrator under personal injury law.

Mother Comforting Daughter Vic 110330012School districts are only be liable for bullying that occurs on school grounds or when the victim is in the school's custody. Or when bullying occurs on the school bus and during extracurricular activities or at school-sponsored events.

While most states have anti-bullying laws, these laws do not provide for private causes of action. Lawsuits must be brought under state or federal anti-discrimination laws or as common law tort claims. To do this, the victim must be a member of a protected class and the bullying must be based on the student's membership of that class. Or, for a tort claim, the victim must have suffered physical harm.