CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A member of the West Virginia Senate says she was a victim of cyberbullying.
Senator Lynne Arvon (R-Raleigh, 09) rose Friday in support of a bill to make online harassment a crime in West Virginia after she said she received negative comments on social media during the nine-day teacher strike.
“It was amazing to watch as the degrading and nasty comments were spread far and wide over false pictures and outright lies being spread as truth,” Arvon said during a speech on the Senate Floor.
A post that gained a lot of attention during the strike was a picture of Arvon wrapped in what appears to be blanket or coat at her Senate seat.
WV Sen Lynne Arvon sleeps on the job & then criticizes WV teachers for striking cause they haven't had a pay raise in years & their PEIA Ins is raising appr. 40%. That piece of💩 along with @WVGovernor @JoeManchinWV need to be voted out!!! @NBCNightlyNews @MSNBC @TheEllenShow pic.twitter.com/1Q7yTuddVr
— Leslie Goings (@travelnut13) March 1, 2018
“It is been said that West Virginia was an example of how to protest appropriately and peacefully. While I agree, outwardly, our state seemed to be a beacon to others. Behind our cellphones and computer screens, looked damaging, degrading and threatening behavior by adults and shook me to my core,” Arvon said.
The Senate passed the bill, HB 2655, Friday and sent it back to the House of Delegates.
The bill would make cyberbulling children under the age of 18 a misdemeanor offense in the state. The maximum punishments include a year in jail, a $500 fine or both.
It’s being referred to as “Grace’s Law” — named after a Maryland teenager who took her own life after being bullied on social media.
Arvon said the negative comments affected her and she knows it must be even more difficult for children to deal with.
“If cyberbullying can affect me at the age of 56 in such a negative way, how much more of a negative and dangerous effect does it have on our children, grandchildren and teens who are not mature enough to handle such rejection and bullying?” she said.