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Schools Can't Punish Your Cyberbully

Maybe you've heard this story already, but here's the scenario: An eighth-grade girl in Beverly Hills had her life temporarily ruined by a female classmate who posted a clip to YouTube calling her a "slut" and "spoiled," among other not nice things. Aided by the various functions now available on cellphones, it didn't take long for video to become viral, at least in the microcosm of that school. Administrators at the school reacted by suspending the videographer for two days.Last month, however, a judge ruled the school had violated the offending girl's constitutional right to free speech. Since the video had been made off-campus, uploaded to a personal computer, and posted on a non-school-affiliated site, policing her rudeness was beyond its jurisdiction.Emily Bazelon over at Slate asks: If you were the parent of a kid in that school who wasn't involved in this drama, would you want the mean girl to be suspended? "My visceral reaction is yes," she writes. I agree with her-even though I fully understand the 1st Amendment violation here. Surely, some punishment should be meted out for such a cruel act, right? Is this a situation where the victim could sue for slander (or libel, if an online video is considered publishing)?I suppose another tack could be for the insulted girl to post a response video, perhaps with higher production value and a musical number of rhymed insults-the middle school flame war-meets-hip-hop beef. If Tina Fey is looking to make a sequel to Mean Girls, here is one real-life storyline she can build on. And it's the sort of story we're likely to read about a lot in the future.What's your take?Image via Flickr user Kimblah

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