SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — The California State Assembly today approved AB 227 by Assemblymember Isadore Hall, III (D- Los Angeles), which would require California school districts seeking federal or state education technology grants to develop comprehensive programs to fight cyber bullying and keep children safe while using computers at school. The measure was approved on a bipartisan vote of 54 to 20.
For more than twenty years, computers, wireless communication devices and the increasingly mobile nature of the Internet has revolutionized education. While the increased use of the Internet in and out of the classroom has made student access to information and social networking easier, the Internet unfortunately has also been used to harass, intimidate and bully students in ways unimaginable a generation ago.
Recent incidents of harassment and cyber bullying across the country have led to violence against youth and the tragic suicides of middle, high school and college students. These tragedies have raised a nationwide awareness of this crisis and a demand for states to take a more active role to protect students from bullying, intimidation and harassment.
In 2010, over $36 million in federal education technology grants were administered to school districts throughout California impacting nearly 3 million students. While this money helped to increase technology access in the classroom, school districts were not required to ensure that students were being protected from inappropriate material or cyber bullying.
AB 227 takes a pro-active approach to prevent cyber bullying by requiring school districts to use content control software on school computers, to establish clear guidelines to prevent cyber bullying and to develop policies to promote the responsible use of mobile communication devices.
“The Internet is a great educational tool that can be used to increase student success and prepare our future workforce for the demands of the 21st Century global economy,” said Assemblymember Hall. “This measure will help students learn the responsible use of this technology and provide important tools to keep students safe while on and off line.”
AB 227 now moves to the State Senate for further action.