Bill to criminalize cyberbullying draws bipartisan support

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DENVER -- Colorado lawmakers gave initial approval to legislation that would make cyberbullying a crime.

Cyberbullying has increasingly become a part of modern childhood where young children have access to social media sites and near constant Internet access on smart phones.

The House Education Committee approved the legislation, HB 1131,on a unanimous bipartisan vote of 12-0.

The bill, which now moves to the House Appropriations Committee, would make it illegal for someone to harass a minor online if the victim feels the threat puts them in serious emotional distress or fear for their life.

"Bullying will never stop if we just stand by and do nothing," said Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, the bill's sponsor. "Our children need to be free from fear."

The crime would be added to the state law on harassment as a class 2 misdemeanor.

A number of teens described their experiences of being bullied before lawmakers Monday afternoon.

"I'd get it at school and then log on to the internet when I got home and see it there too, just all this hatred, things like 'no one wants you there, it'd be better off if you just killed yourself'," Ashley Berry told FOX31 Denver.

"It makes you feel like no one's really there for you. You start to have suicidal thoughts, wondering maybe it would be better if I wasn't here. It makes you feel alone and like no one is there for you.

"If this bill passes, at least we'll know that even if our parents or our teachers aren't listening, the state will be there for us."

Highlands Ranch mother Naomi Lowell told us in November about the bullying her 13-year-old daughter received.

Messages sent to her Facebook page included threats and "awful stuff like, Go kill yourself," Lowell said.

Lowell said she was able to work with her daughter's school to stop the bullying.  That is often the only course available to parents whose children have been bullied.

Some district attorney's have filled harassment charges in cases of extreme bullying. However, statutorily, the crime can be difficult to prosecute. The new Colorado law is intended to fix this.



  • reformedii

    Since we are writing laws for everything how about writing yet ANOTHER law against getting your panties in a wad.

    I got my BU!! kicked half of my middle school life because I skipped a couple of grades and was much smaller [not to speak of younger] than the other guys. I GOT OVER THE A$$ KICKINGS! I GREW UP!

    These idiots trying to make laws covering everything think like TEENAGE GIRLS [having reared a couple of them] & need to grow up!

  • Robert Winn

    Just a total BS law. Why not make a law to pull up your big boy pants and get on with life. It is a pointless law that only further allows the government to impose its control over our lives!!! Stupid law and what exactly is bullying? People need to get some thicker skin!!

  • Evan Engle

    I find it ironic that the first two people to comment are good examples of cyberbullies. May both of your children, since you seem to be experts in parenting, never have to go through wanting to kill themselves. And if they do, I sure hope they feel safe running to you as support because from the looks of things, they probably won’t.

    • reformedii

      And, I bet you’d favor the “GOTCHURPANTIESNAWAD” legislation.

      I just read what The Expert on Everything said.

      Life is tough and that is what my kids know!

      They know dad has been almost killed, stabbed, beaten in the face with a baseball bat, and in the head with a metal post. They know dad has had to fight for his life several times including fighting someone over the gun they were holding against me. They know dad was holding their grandfather when he died. They know dad has been betrayed by ex-wives, homeless, and lost everything [LITERALLY]!

      The last man [of several] who told me he was going to kill me was executed last June.

      The youngest son told me last year that a friend commented about my limp. My son said he laughed and told the kid: “Yeah he is the indestructible man.”

      You become indestructible through, GUESS WHAT? Learning to live with it!

      And, yes my kids tell me they love me. They do come to dad for $$$ but we are proud that they are pretty tough otherwise.

      And these are some of the things I taught in the years I taught rehabilitation and personal responsibility classes!

      But you raise all the lib whiners, incapable of coping with reality, that you want ! The rest of us will have to hold their hands, but I refuse to change any more diapers!

      Life is tough! Get over it!

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