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McDonnell signs bill outlawing 'cyberbullying'

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“Cyberbullying” will soon be illegal in Virginia.

Using your cell phone to send a malicious text message with “profane, threatening or indecent language” will become a Class 1 misdemeanor beginning July 1.

Aimed at teenagers engaged in bullying, the law adds “texting” to Virginia’s obscene phone call statute. The statute already prohibits using telephones or the radio to transmit obscene language or threats.

Approved unanimously by the Senate and 99-0 in the House, it was ceremonially signed on Tuesday by Gov. Bob McDonnell as part of a package of school safety legislation. Patron Rob Bell, Charlottesville Republican, said the new ban will promote an atmosphere “conducive to learning.”

“Students should not only be protected when they are in the school building, but when they are traveling to and from their school and when interacting with other students,” Mr. Bell said.

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