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Online Messages That Cause Harm: Atty. Gen. Launches Campaign to Stop It

JACKSON, Miss.–What you do online can hurt others and if you have malicious intent, then your online words are illegal, is the message from Atty. Gen. Jim Hood, who announced Wednesday that his office has started an online safety campaign targeting Mississippi students.

“The trends we are seeing with our young people and their online posts greatly disturbs me both as a father and as Attorney General,” said Hood. “Our young people believe they are hiding behind a veil of anonymity and are saying things to one other that I don’t think they would say face to face. Some of these conversations fall to freedom of speech, but some are injurious and therefore illegal. I am hoping that instead of making an example out of some of these young people, that we can start by educating them on the facts that they are not anonymous and that they can go to jail when their posts cross that legal line.”

Hood said in a news release that he’s teaming up with the Miss. Dept. of Education and the state’s colleges and universities to make sure that message gets out.

“I genuinely appreciate the assistance of so many of our educational leaders in this initiative,” he said. “They are key to this campaign’s success. I am hoping that through this initial launch we can gain even more support from parents, teachers and students across the state.”

To that end, Hood is sending out posters and radio and TV ads. He’s also setting up a press conference designed specifically for student reporters.

“I want Mississippians to get united on this front and send a strong message to our youth that posting messages with the intent to cause anyone harm is illegal and completely unacceptable in this state,” said Hood.

Hood said he invites all parents, teachers and interested parties to get involved. These are the agencies and schools signed up so far:

Mississippi Department of Education, Alcorn State University, Benoit School District, Blue Mountain College, Booneville School District, Delta State University, DeSoto County School District, East Central Community College, East Mississippi Community College, Greene County High School, Hinds Community College, Holmes Community College, Indianola School District, Itawamba Community College, Jackson Public School District, Jackson State University, Jones County Junior College, Meridian Community College, Millsaps College, Mississippi College, Mississippi Delta Community College, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Mississippi School Public Relations Association, Mississippi State University, Northeast Mississippi Community College, Oxford School District, Pearl River Community College, Pilate Middle School, University of Mississippi, University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University.

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