California Cyberbullying Laws

California Cyberbullying Laws

Bullying, whether in person or online, can have serious consequences for its victims. Unlike the clear cyberbullying laws in Texas, California doesn’t have a specific law solely addressing cyberbullying. However, several existing laws are in place to combat this issue of cyberbullying. The following are the cyberbullying laws in California:

1. California Penal Code Section 653.2

  • Prohibits electronic harassment using electronic communication devices.
  • Defines electronic harassment as any act that harasses, annoys, alarms, or threatens others.
  • Punishment: Misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

2. California Penal Code Section 646.9

  • Prohibits cyberbullying and cyberstalking.
  • Cyberstalking involves acts causing reasonable fear for the safety of the victim or their family.
  • Punishment: Misdemeanor or felony, depending on severity.
  • Felony conviction: Up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

3. California Education Code Sections 32261-32270

  • Establishes a framework for preventing and addressing bullying and cyberbullying in schools.
  • Mandates school safety plans, professional development, and training for staff.
  • Defines bullying and cyberbullying, outlining reporting, investigation, and disciplinary procedures.

Understanding California Penal Code Section 653.2

Electronic Harassment Defined:

  • Illegal use of electronic communication devices to harass, annoy, alarm, or threaten others.

Proving Electronic Harassment:

  • Defendant engaged knowingly and willfully in a harassing course of conduct.
  • Conduct had no legitimate purpose.

Examples of Electronic Harassment:

  • Unwanted text messages or emails.
  • Posting harmful information online.

Punishment:

  • Misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Understanding California Penal Code Section 646.9

Cyberbullying and Cyberstalking Defined:

  • Prohibits acts causing reasonable fear for the safety of the victim or their family.

Proving Cyberstalking:

  • Willful and malicious engagement in a course of conduct directed at a specific person.

Punishment:

  • Felony with up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 (for prior convictions).
  • Misdemeanor with up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000 (without prior convictions).

Additional Considerations:

  • Applies to both adults and minors.
  • Victim’s fear must be reasonable given the defendant’s actions.

Understanding California Education Code Sections 32261-32270

Key Provisions:

  • Legislative findings and declaration.
  • Establishment of interagency coordination system.
  • School safety plans, professional development, and training.
  • Definition of bullying and cyberbullying.
  • Reporting and investigation procedures.
  • Disciplinary action.

Significance:

  • Comprehensive approach to address bullying and cyberbullying.
  • Collaborative framework for effective responses.
  • Emphasis on prevention through safety plans and training.
  • Clear reporting and intervention procedures.
  • Accountability with disciplinary measures.

California takes a multifaceted approach to combat cyberbullying, employing existing laws and an educational framework to create a safer environment for everyone. If you’re a victim, don’t hesitate to report incidents to your school or the police and consider seeking legal counsel. Together, we can work towards a bully-free California.

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Olivia Mercie. (2023, November 27). California Cyberbullying Laws. EssayHelper.me. Retrieved from https://essayhelper.me/blog/california-cyberbullying-laws/

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