The crusade against bullying is entering a new phase in Illinois. In an attempt to “stop cyber-bullying,” a new law went into effect that on January 1 that forces students in all school districts and universities to turn over their social media passwords to school officials if they feel they have “reasonable cause” to believe the accounts contain evidence the student has run afoul of the school’s “disciplinary rule policy.”
The new law empowers school officials to make the password demand whether or not the alleged “cyber-bullying” occurred on school property or not, and during school hours or not. Previously state law only allowed schools to take action against students for “cyber-bullying” only if it happened during the school day, not after hours or on weekends.
Many students and parents have an obvious problem with the new law since proof of “cyber-bullying” isn’t required, only “reasonable cause.” Student Nathan Sterling views it as “an invasion of privacy.”
Surprisingly not all students agree. Some see no problem with school officials demanding their social media passwords if wrongdoing is alleged. “I believe it’s a good law because it will help stop bullying by raising awareness and stopping kids that have been bullied or will get bullied in the future, ” said Keanna Williams.