Bill to allow schools to discipline over online threats

Teacher who are threatened online - typically on MySpace pages - will soon have greater protection, if a bill passing through the Illinois Legislature becomes law. But there are concerns about students' civil liberties, The Post Dispatch reports.

Teacher who are threatened online - typically on MySpace pages - will soon have greater protection, if a bill passing through the Illinois Legislature becomes law. But there are concerns about students' civil liberties, The Post Dispatch reports.

"Schools did not know if a student, online, threatened a teacher, another student, or some school personnel, if they had any recourse for disciplinary action," said Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, the bill's sponsor.

State lawmakers wanted to make clear that schools could also discipline students for threats made online. The bill would allow schools to suspend students for up to 10 days and expel students up to two years for explicit threats made online.

But some legislators are wary.

"We too want to make sure that, in this moment in America, (when) people are feeling a little insecure around their own children and students because of what might have happened at Virginia Tech and Columbine, etc., that we don't overreach and overreact and start creating reactionary policy when these are sometimes just young, dumb-kid-crimes," said Sen. William Delgado, D-Chicago.

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