‘Bullying’ on YouTube Moves Senators to Act

by S. LANEY OLSON

The committee was shown three videos of Nevadan students being bullied on 04.09.2013 in Carson City. / Photo by S. Laney Olson

The committee was shown three videos of Nevadan students being bullied on 04.09.2013 in Carson City. / Photo by S. Laney Olson

Retired Nevada Senator Valerie Wiener introduced Senate Bill 414 to the Senate Committee on Judiciary today. The bill would work to prevent minors from “transmitting or distributing certain images of a violent offense committed against another minor” and would also revise the definition of cyber-bullying.

Senator Wiener presented the bill and gave her testimony from Las Vegas. YouTube videos from Bonanza High School and other schools in Clark County and Washoe County depict students being jumped or participating in fights. The committee was shown three such videos of students being bullied.

A student could be heard in the background of one of the videos asking students to wait while they got their camera ready. Senator Wiener began crying during her testimony on the videos. The bill would make videos like these unlawful.

Members of the committee shared concerns about the bill. Sen. Aaron Ford expressed concern that SB414 might raise issue about violation of the first amendment. Senator Justin Jones questioned whether recording a high intensity activity such as football, which is a violent action, would also be considered illegal under the bill.

Wiener assured members that only minors videotaping with the intent to distribute or promote bullying and violence would be in trouble, and that because the action they are recording is already unlawful, the bill would not violate the first amendment.

Minors found guilty under SB414 would be monitored, and if such behavior continued, further action would be taken.

Senator Tick Segerblom said, “We don’t want to penalize them for life for a stupid decision they made when they were 16.”

Senator Scott Hammond hopes passing the bill would help decrease the number of fights in schools.



Categories: BILLS