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Abstract

In 2012, the North Carolina General Assembly criminalized student Internet activity intended to “torment” school employees. This Comment contends that the legislation violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments. It violates the First Amendment because it creates both subject matter and viewpoint limitations on speech. It violates the Fourteenth Amendment because the requirement that the student must intend to “torment” a school employee creates an impermissibly vague standard. This Comment suggests that the North Carolina General Assembly could correct the constitutional deficiencies in the legislation through revisions that limit punishment to “true threats.” Such revisions would reign in the broad coverage of the statute, while still protecting school employees and school systems from the most serious and disruptive online student misconduct.

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