Facebook bullying case renews call for tougher Georgia bullying law

6:50 PM, Apr 30, 2012   |    comments
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  • Fake Facebook page for Alexandria Boston of Acworth
  • Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta)
  • Alex Boston and her attorney, Natalie Woodward, on last Friday night's 7pm news
  • Rep. Howard Maxwell (R-Dallas)

ACWORTH, Ga. (WXIA) -- Widespread publicity about the cyberbullying of a Cobb County middle school student is fueling the call for a tougher anti-bullying law in Georgia.

Last week we told you how two of her classmates created a fake Facebook page to ridicule 14-year-old Alexandria Boston of Acworth.

RELATED | Family sues over fake Facebook page

In addition to a bloated picture of her, it contained racial, sexual and drug-related references.

Her middle school said they were powerless to do anything about it since they couldn't prove it happened on school property.

When notified about it last May, Cobb County Police officers said they, too, were powerless under Georgia's Bullying Act of 2010, telling the Boston family to complain to Facebook about the fake page.

The Boston family said despite their repeated complaints, it took nearly a year for Facebook to take down the page and only after the family appeared on CNN last week.

The lack of action by authorities prompted Alex Boston's family to file a civil libel and defamation lawsuit against the two students and their parents.

But now some Democratic Georgia state lawmakers say the case is yet another example of why the 2010 bullying law needs to be updated to include cyberbullying, even off school grounds.

"It now happens on line and the schools have a responsibility and an obligation to try to protect children who are under their care," House Minority Leader Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta) told 11Alive News on Monday.

But some Republican state lawmakers oppose the move, saying it's too much to ask of schools.

They say offenders and their parents should be held responsible.

"It seems like every time something comes up we're putting responsibility on the teachers, the administrators, school systems," Rep. Howard Maxwell (R-Dallas, GA) told 11Alive News.

"When is personal responsibility going to take over?" he added.

Rep. Abrams was one of several Democratic sponsors of a cyberbullying bill, HB 310, which failed to get out of committee in this year's General Assembly.

She and other sponsors plan to re-introduce it when the state legislature meets next January.

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