On September 3, 2012, Audrey Pott, 15, went to a party with ten other teenagers where she had too much to drink and passed out. While she was asleep, Audrey was sexually assaulted by three or more of these teenagers. During the assault, photographs were taken and distributed via social networks such as Facebook and via text messages. In the following days, Audrey was bullied by some who saw the photographs. Just nine days later, Audrey killed herself by hanging.

The best way to address  bullying is to stop it before it starts. Between the time of Audrey’s assault and her suicide, she did not share her pain with her parents or any other adults. She did, however, share it with her peers. In order to educate students about their rights around bullying, Learning Rights has partnered with Skadden, Arps, Meagher & Flom LLP to form The Sexual and Cyber Crimes Project. The Project’s main goal is to prevent cyberbullying in California, by training students in public schools how to recognize and respond to it.

The time seemed to be right to team up and let teens know about their legal rights and obligations when the California Youth Health Act (AB 329) was enacted in 2016. The Act requires schools to provide training to students in grades 7-12 on sexual assault, harassment and the issue of affirmative consent or the ‘yes means yes’ principle.
Pictured above, Mina Poppius, from Learning Rights Law Center, and Sherin Nosrati, from Skadden, giving a training to high school students at Simon Tech school in Maywood, on November 1, 2017.
At any given time, some 42% of all teens in the U.S. are the victims of cyberbullying. Also worryingly, 44% of victims of sexual assault are under the age of 18. With the development of social media and new technology, there’s an increase in bullying. Cyberbullying can be anonymous, which can sometimes make it even worse. It also has a wider audience, and can spread quickly. Finally, targets of cyberbullying often feel like they can’t get away from the bullying. If someone is being bullied at school, when a student leaves for the day it’s over. But cyberbullying can follow a student home, and continue all night.

Bullying can threaten students' physical and emotional safety at school. It can negatively impact their ability to learn – or worse, cause depression and increase the risk of suicide. Suicide remains among the leading causes of death in teenagers. READ MORE
Pictured above, Audrey Pott. Photo: Audrey Pott Foundation via Facebook.
A big thank you to the Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom staff
who together with Learning Rights will continue to ensure that children are safe in public schools across Southern California via The Sexual and Cyber Crimes Project!
Erin Burris
Staff Attorney

“I love being part of an organization that offers the community dedication, talent, and heart, all in one neat package, to provide children equal opportunities to access education. Not only do we support individual students and families, but we strengthen the entire community when all students, regardless of their differences, have the chance to maximize his or her potential.”
QUESTION: Which of these penalties could a person receive if found guilty of cyber crimes:

A. Money, damages, including amounts taken from future earnings

B. School suspension or expulsion

C. Jail or juvenile detention

D. All of the above

ANSWER: D - all of the above!