Lawmakers in Louisiana are taking a major stand against cyberbullying by advancing a bill against harassment of people under 17 through text messages, e-mails, and social networking sites.
We think it's something more states should consider doing as well.
Under the proposed new law, cyberbullying would be considered a misdemeanor and someone charged with the crime could go to jail for up to six months and a fine up to $500. A second offense equals up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000. Any cyberbullying conviction after that receives a sentence of at least one year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.
"This situation is worsening, and it's destroying young lives," says Representative Roy Burrell. He proposed the legislation in an effort to prevent malicious tormenting on the Internet that's so intense, teens take their own lives. One such case is Massachusetts teen Phoebe Prince, who committed suicide after being the victim of relentless bullying. Six teens are now charged in connection with her death.
And 17-year-old Alexis Pilkington from New York, her friends are pictured above, killed herself on March 25, 2010 after receiving numerous nasty online messages.