Tyler Clementi and cyberbullying: how courts ruled in five other cases

The trial for the roommate of former Rutgers University Tyler Clementi will be watched by legal experts nationwide to see how the court addresses the growing issue of cyberbullying. Here is a list of court proceedings where cyberbullying or Internet privacy invasion was a key issue. 

5. Killion v. Franklin Regional School District (2001)

A Pennyslvania high-school student, Zachariah Paul, created a top 10 list on his website that targeted his school’s athletic director. Mr. Paul was apparently angry because he was refused a student-parking permit due to new rules impacting the school’s track team. The student e-mailed a copy of the list from his home computer to his friends, and several weeks later copies of the list were distributed around the school.

School officials at Franklin Regional High School considered Paul's language to be abusive, lewd, and vulgar and moved to suspend the student. A federal district court, however, ruled in the student’s favor, and reasoned that while the website was both derogatory and insulting, the school failed to prove that the website caused a substantial threat to the operation of the school. Furthermore, based on the fact that the list was created off school grounds on the student’s personal computer, the Pennsylvania court concluded that Paul's suspension was not valid. 

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