The Cyberbullying Research Center has been collecting data on online harassment for 15 years. During that time, we’ve surveyed more than 20,000 middle and high school students from across the United States. And we know from that research how significant the problem is and the impact it can have.
At least one in three middle and high school students have experienced cyberbullying. They are tormented online in ways that can make learning at school extremely difficult. Educators can and should respond to these incidents even if they occur away from the classroom.
Courts have already determined that schools have the right to punish students for their off-campus behavior. That includes what happens online if whatever occurred causes a “substantial disruption” of the learning environment—or interferes with the rights of students. There’s
no doubt that if young people are being mistreated online, their ability to learn and feel safe at school is disrupted.