There is an interesting case in Granbury, Texas where two middle school students created a fake Facebook page for a 12-year-old classmate. That would normally result in a serious sit down with school officials and parents for the students, aged 12 and 13. In this case, however, the two were arrested for online impersonation, a third-degree felony. The case raises another example of how we have criminalized so much of our society. The over-criminalization of our society has taken misconduct that was once a matter of private or school discipline and converted it into felonies.
The Facebook page was active for a month and had 63 friends. Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds is quoted as saying that “They put cuss words and made threats toward other students and basically cultivated a bad reputation for the victim.” It is not clear to me why that is a criminal act. The girls spent nine days in the juvenile detention facility.
One of the mothers of the victims called police. Police monitored the site for a couple of weeks before arresting the girls. I have written about the need to crackdown on bullying in schools. However, the worst cases would seem ripe for civil rather than criminal relief. This is one such such where a lawsuit would seem more than adequate to deter this type of misconduct.
What do you think?
Source: Star Telegram