Missouri court strikes down part of cyberbullying harassment law

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 | 2:48 p.m. CDT; updated 3:44 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 29, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Supreme Court has struck down part of a state harassment law enacted after the suicide of Megan Meier, a St. Charles County teenager who was teased over the Internet.

The high court on Tuesday invalidated a 2008 state law defining harassment to cover anyone who "knowingly makes repeated unwanted communication to another person."

The court ruled the law was unconstitutionally broad. It said the law could have prevented teachers from calling on students after pupils asked to be left alone or barred advertisements that urge elected officials to change their stance on controversial issues.

Missouri's law was enacted after media reports about the October 2006 suicide of Megan Meier.

The court let stand another definition of harassment that references the intent to frighten or intimidate.

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