The Texas Educational Code prohibits bullying at school, at school-sponsored events and on school vehicles. The Code also prohibits students from engaging in cyberbullying. This type of bullying occurs when an individual uses an electronic device to harass or intimidate others. Both traditional and cyberbullying may result in school discipline.
Some online behaviors, however, are more serious. That is, they have criminal consequences instead of merely scholastic ones. If your child engages in any of the following three types of behaviors, prosecutors may file charges:
Your child may think he or she is anonymous online. If your son or daughter creates a profile that appears to be someone else, though, he or she may be asking for legal trouble. The same is true if the young one in your family sends messages posing as a different person. Online impersonation may either be a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on a few different factors, including the severity of harm.
Both children and adults in the Lone Star State have the general right to be free from harassment. Typically, a misdemeanor, online harassment occurs when a person sends obscene messages, makes a false report, threatens harm or otherwise torments someone else.
At one time or another, virtually every child has thought about causing enough of a disruption to get out of a pop quiz, standardized test or boring school day. If your son or daughter obstructs anyone’s ability to enter a school or attend school activities, however, prosecutors may charge him or her with causing a disruption. Engaging in disruptive activities is usually a misdemeanor offense in Texas.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with letting your child connect with others online, you must realize certain behaviors may lead to criminal charges. By understanding your child’s exposure, you can likely encourage him or her to make good choices. After all, a criminal conviction may have lifelong consequences for the young one in your family.