While parody accounts on social media sites provide humor and entertainment for most, issues concerning cyber bullying are being presented through controversial satirical material.
As cyber bullying remains a prevalent issue, state legislation is taking steps to regulate what is posted on social media sites by enforcing stricter consequences.
Earlier this month, North Carolina legislature outlawed fake social media pages of school officials in an attempt to stop multiple forms of cyber bullying.
Cyber bullying is usually defined as students attacking other students over social media websites. It has also increased to a level where students are bullying school faculty through social networking websites as well, like Facebook and Twitter.
“[North Carolina] is looking at different ways that we can protect students and faculty,” said Rep. Rick Glazier D-NC.
Legislation from North Carolina looked at other laws from other states around the country before this enactment, and those in favor believe that it will help solve the issue of cyber bullying in the state, said Glazier.
“We wanted to make sure our standards were constitutional,” he said.
This recent enactment is an extension of a broader School Violence Protection Act that was passed on July 15, according to an article on the Student Press Law Center website.
The law states that any student can be charged with a class two misdemeanor, as well as $1,000 dollar fine and 30-day probation for the first offense.
Glazier said this act includes prohibition of students making fake social media accounts of faculty members and that other states should consider enacting something similar to this law.
Tor Michaels, chief of staff for Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Pa., said it will be interesting to watch how any state proceeds after the case, including Pennsylvania.
Michaels said that Pennsylvania legislature will have to see how the law plays out before it considers adopting anything similar.
“Clearly there are issues that must be resolved in court that will be soon,” said Michaels. “The North Carolina case raises many legal issues.”
Some issues that have been brought up include infringement of freedom of speech, which is the main argument for the opposition of this law.
Penn State Spokeswoman Lisa Powers declined comment on how Penn State would deal with the issue.
North Carolina ACLU Policy Director Sarah Preston said the act will very likely “chill” the speech of students nationwide.
Preston said that the act infringes freedom of speech in the United States Constitution and the language makes it seem too vague.
“The way it’s written punishes students about both true and false statements if posted with torment and intimidation,” said Preston. “These two words have different meanings for everyone.”
Sara Rose, staff attorney for the Pennsylvania ACLU, said legislators must be very precise in language use when talking about issues concerning freedom of speech.
Rose said that this infringes the First Amendment because the Supreme Court protects parodies under the Constitution.
The law goes into effect on Oct. 1 of this year, and Glazier said he hopes that it helps with cyber bullying because students and faculty should not be criminally harassed or have their educational experience threatened.
Other states, including Pennsylvania, that are looking into similar laws will have to see its effectiveness in North Carolina.
“We just need to see how it all shakes out of the trees,” said Michaels.