Bullying is intentional, repetitive, and can be physical, verbal, and/or emotional and includes electronic bullying, known as cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is a new phenomenon that includes,
- electronically sending mean, vulgar, or threatening messages or images
- online posting of sensitive, private information about someone
- pretending to be someone else online in order to make that person look bad
- using photo shop tools to create harassing images
- publishing jokes about another person on the Internet
- using the Internet to entice a group to physically harm another person
- can be done using email, IM’s, text messages, blogs, etc.
Virginia Law holds Virginia students to a model practice, and allows the School Board to use disciplinary measures if a student violates the model practice; bullying is a violation. (§ 18.2-60)
Certain behaviors associated with bullying can also result in punishment under Virginia Law, for example:
A Threat is knowingly communicating a warning to kill or do bodily harm to someone. This is punishable as a Class 6 felony and can result in up-to 5 years imprisonment. (§ 18.2-60)
Extortion is knowingly obtaining, by threat, control over the property of another, with intent to deprive said person of the property. This is a Class 5 felony and can result in up to 10 years imprisonment. (§ 18.2-59)
An Assault is the attempt or offer, with force, to do bodily harm, while assault and battery is the actual infliction of bodily harm. This crime is classified as either a Class 1 misdemeanor- 12 months imprisonment and/or $2500 fine, or a Class 6 felony (if the victim is intentionally selected based on race, religion, color or national origin), which can result in up to 5 years imprisonment. (§18.2-57)
Hazing is the reckless or intentional endangerment of the health or safety of a student, or the infliction of a bodily injury on a student in connection with or for the purpose of an initiation, admission or affiliation with a club, organization, fraternity…regardless of whether the student voluntarily participated. This crime is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can result in 12 months in jail and/or $2500 fine. (§18.2-56)
Malicious wounding is the shooting, stabbing, cutting, wounding or causing a bodily injury, with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill and is a Class 3 Felony that can result in 5 - 20 years and a fine up to $100,000. (§ 18.2-51)
If such act is done unlawfully, not maliciously, then it is an unlawful wounding and is a Class 6 Felony that can result in 1-5 years; or 12 months in jail and/or $2500 fine.
Harassment by computer is the use of a computer - with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass - to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or to threaten any illegal or immoral act. This crime is a Class 1 misdemeanor and result in 12 months in jail and/or $2500 fine. (§ 18.2-152.7:1)