Woman Convicted of Computer Fraud After MySpace Taunts Leads to Young Girl’s Suicide

The woman accused of using MySpace to bully a vulnerable teenage girl who subsequently killed herself has been found guilty of three misdemeanor charges. Lori Drew created a fake MySpace profile in the name of Josh Evans and used the persona to flirt with a thirteen year old girl named Megan Meier, who her daughter had previously fallen out with.

After weeks of flirting Drew then sent her message which said: “You’re a shitty person, and the world would be a better place without you in it.” About 20 minutes later, Tina Meier found her daughter hanging from her belt … Read the rest

Texting While Driving Is More Dangerous Than Drunk-Driving; Is Jail-Time Warranted?

A study by the Transport Research Laboratory, a British center for transport research, has suggested that texting while driving is riskier than driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Texting adversely effects drivers’ reaction times, steering control (ie. drifting out of the lane), and maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Motorists who use their mobile phone to send text messages while on the road dramatically increase the likelihood of collision – their reaction times deteriorated by 35 per cent.

In comparison, those who drank alcohol at the legal limit were 12 per cent slower, those under … Read the rest

Increasing the Driving Age Requirement = Increased Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a nonprofit, scientific and educational organization aimed at reducing loss on the nation’s highways, including deaths, personal injuries and property damage. Its research has divulged that in the year 2006 alone, 42,642 people died in motor vehicle crashes. In particular, they have found young adult and teen drivers to be at risk, especially drivers younger than the age of 18.

Teen drivers are at significant risk on the road because they lack both the judgment that comes with maturity and the skill associated with experience. In attempts of ameliorating this situation, the … Read the rest

They’re Marketing Prescription Medications to Our Children in Our Schools

Advocates for children are upset that Alloy Media and Marketing has run ads for prescription drugs from its Channel One website. Channel One provides free news and original programming to about 10,000 middle and high schools. Channel One is, in the opinion of many, a controversial in-school news program that makes viewing ads a compulsory part of the school day for grades six through twelve.

One of Channel One’s drug ads links to Acneheroes.com, a kid-targeted website created by the pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis to promote BenzaClin, a prescription drug for acne. The website features actor Cody Linley, who introduces himself … Read the rest

Deaths on Dangerous Jericho Turnpike in Suffolk County Prompt Changes in Road Configuration and Speed Limit

The state Department of Transportation yesterday unveiled changes to a stretch of Jericho Turnpike, from Old Willets Path to Meadow Road, in Smithtown where three teenagers were killed last year in a car accident on their lunch break from school. A primary purpose of the changes is to slow drivers down by reconfiguring the roadway and by reducing the speed limit.

Although the posted speed limit is 55 MPH, New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) studies show 50 percent of drivers in the westbound lane drive 60 mph or faster. The speed on the westbound lane will be reduced … Read the rest

Seemingly Never-Ending String of High School Lunch-Time Car Accidents Fuels Debate Over Open Campuses

A fatal car accident involving students driving off of school grounds during lunch period has again focused attention on whether open campus is a concept that should be ended.

Following a crash on April 10, 2008 in which two West Hempstead High School students were killed and another seriously injured, New York State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) renewed his call to enact his bill that would ban all school districts in the state from permitting students to leave campus in vehicles during school hours. Assemblyman Gianaris introduced Assembly Bill A.9619 this past January.

As a result of the accident, … Read the rest

Bill Introduced To Protect New Yorkers, Especially Children, From Sex Predators On The Internet

New York’s legislative leaders, at the request of Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, have introduced a new and comprehensive bill known as the Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP) that establishes vital protections against sexual predators so that users of the Internet can more safely surf the Web.

e-STOP would require sex offenders to register their email addresses, instant message screen names and any other online identifiers, and would give access to that information to online social networking companies. Those sites would then be able to pre-screen and block access by convicted sex offenders.

According to the … Read the rest

MySpace Agrees to Take New Steps to Protect Children from Sexual Predators and Bullies

MySpace, the country’s largest social-networking Web site, has agreed with attorneys general of 49 states to take new steps to protect children from sexual predators and bullies on its site. MySpace also agreed to lead a nationwide effort to develop technology to verify the ages and identities of Internet users. The popular online hangout will create a task force of industry professionals to improve the safety of users, and other social-networking sites will be invited to participate.

“We must keep telling children that they’re not just typing into a computer. They’re sharing themselves with the world,” said North Carolina Attorney … Read the rest

Third Department Applies Most Stringent Standards to Protect Students From Teachers’ Harm

Courts continue to find it important that schools fulfill their non-delegable duty of protecting their students. Recently, the Appellate Division, Third Department, in Matter of Binghamton City School District v. Peacock, Docket No. 502329, held that public policy supports a no-leniency standard for teachers that instill harm on their students. The court clearly delivered this message when it held that a two-year suspension for a teacher who engaged in a grossly inappropriate relationship with a sixteen year old student was too lenient.

The case centers on a teacher where there is evidence that he helped the student purchase … Read the rest

F.B.I. Investigating Purported Failure to Test More than 200,000 Used Football Helmets At a Time When More College Players are Sustaining Concussions

The F.B.I. is investigating how it was that more than 200,000 amateur football players in the United States wore used helmets this fall that were returned to the field without proper testing.

The investigation concerns the purported failure of Circle System Inc., of Easton, Pa., in an apparent effort to save on labor and insurance costs, to perform a formal drop-testing procedure in which helmets are subjected to strong forces in different locations on about 2 percent of the helmets they handle as part of a safety protocol mandated by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (Nocsae).… Read the rest