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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12620
Experience:  Attorney experienced in numerous areas of law.
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My son apparently has been cyberbullying a girl at school.

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My son apparently has been cyberbullying a girl at school. In his mind he was just trying to find out why she would not talk to him and when she would not answer he would call her names. His dad and I were unaware it is going on yet the school has talked to the him several times without notification to us. This has resulted in his being put on emergency expulsion because he posted song lyrics on his MySpace that the other student considered to be a threat to her when inactuallity it had nothing to do with her at all. He may be brought up on criminal charges for bullying and he has never in his life ever physically hurt anyone. He is very gentle natured. The girls mother is the assistant principal at the school he attends. We don't know if we should get a lawyer yet or not, or if we should file a suit against the school for not notifying us when they first became aware this was happening so it could have been taken care of and since I control his phone usage it would have been taken care of. He would not have had access to the girls number because I would have blocked it on his phone. He would have had his myspace and facebook accounts under my scrutinized eye every single day so this would not have continued. He knows he was wrong, he just didn't realize what he was doing was considered cyberbulling. He is scared and not sure what is going to happen to him at this point. He has never been in trouble with the law before, does not have a criminal record, does not drink or do drugs. He is a polite young man, but very confused about how to go about talking to girls because he is shy. My question is, when should my son's dad and I have been notified this was going on?
Hello there:

Thank you for entrusting me with your question. Your question is "when should my son's dad and I have been notified this was going on?" I am going to answer that immediate question, but I think that some other issues need to be discussed as well. However, I am not going to force unwanted information on you. If you would like to discuss some of the other issues--in particular the criminal charges--just let me know.

There is no requirement under federal or Washington state law for a school to notify the parents of a student engaged in potentially illegal activity unless actual disciplinary measures have been taken. If the student is suspended or expelled, or if the student is detained outside normal school hours as a disciplinary measure (e.g. "detention"), the parents must be notified, but there is no legal requirement to notify the parents if the child is merely lectured or given warning.

I understand that you may have follow-up questions. Let me know if further clarification is needed. Thank you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
What can you tell me about criminal charges?
I apologize for the slight delay. I should first clarify that I think I understand your son's position in this. He sounds like he may just be a bit socially awkward right now and he will likely eventually grow out of it. Although this is not something that is likely to derail his life even if a criminal prosecution goes forward, he does not need the aggravation right now and you want to minimize the consequences to the extent possible.

Law enforcement always has a difficult job--they first have to decide if justice would be served by prosecuting a crime; they would then have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Oftentimes, this cannot be done without the "cooperation" of the suspect. The best advice that anyone can give any suspect is to not cooperate with law enforcement whatsoever. If asked to participate in an investigation, the second best answer is "I respectfully XXXXX XXXXX participate except through legal counsel." The best answer is to say nothing at all.

It is difficult to gage with the information provided whether law enforcement would take any interest in this case in the first place, but if they do, I recommend that you watch this video to understand your rights in this situation (follow link).

I should in conclusion warn you that law enforcement does not need to notify you before or during an interrogation of your child. It is important that your children know their right to not answer questions, even if they are being pressured by school officials or law enforcement to participate.

Let me know if further clarification is needed. Thank you.
Brandon M. and 2 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX was involved today. He was read his miranda rights but not arrested. We don't know if the family will pursue criminal charges or not. He is socially awkward at this point. He has friends and they are great kids. Thank you for your help. I will watch the video. We will know sometime next week from my understanding whether or not he will be permanently expelled from the school. The girls mother is one of the assistant principals so I have no idea how that will play into this situation. I will be calling around for lawyers tomorrow just in case charges are pressed.

It was my pleasure, and I wish you all the best of luck.