Adolescent Bullying: Abuse or Free Speech?

In this assignment, students will research the topic of adolescent bullying through the lenses of victims, perpetrators, witnesses, parents, school officials, and the government. Students will examine the causes, consequences, legal actions, and results of both verbal and cyberbullying, with emphasis on US examples that have resulted in court cases or settlements.

Subjects: Social Studies, US Government

Prior Knowledge: Students need to review the rights set out in the First Amendment in order to recognize when those rights are being violated in the cases researched. To better understand their research, students need some background regarding how legal redress is sought in the United States through local school boards and through municipal, county, state, or federal courts. Students need to know how to use the Internet and locate reliable search engines, websites, and databases to research specific cases of bullying and freedom of speech issues in verbal and cyberbullying. Students should be able to work both independently and in small groups to accomplish individual responsibilities and contribute to group tasks.

Key Concepts and Terms: Alleged, Assault and Battery, Bullycides, Civil and Criminal Suits, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Court Opinion, Cyberbullying, Defendant, Discrimination: Gender, Race, Socioeconomic, Class, Sexual Preference, Freedom of Speech, Harassment, Hate Crimes, Legal Grounds, Libel, Perpetrator, Plaintiff, Precedent, Prosecute, Rite of Passage, Slander, Verdict

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