MOUNT VERNON — A timely topic was the focus of the 2011 Knox County Debate Contest held Thursday. Students from Centerburg, Clear Fork, Danville and Mount Vernon considered whether cyberbullying should be made a criminal offense.
After three rounds in the morning, Mount Vernon debaters faced off in the final round.
Arguing in favor of a law making cyberbullying a criminal offense, Chelsea Kempton and Trent Grohe said cyberbullying is a contributing factor in the increase in teen suicide and also affects society as a whole because it invades people’s homes and makes them feel unsafe.
Sarah Bertschy and Lindsey Studebaker disputed that contention. They said a law criminalizing cyberbullying would not be as effective as a concentrated effort in the schools to educate students about the damaging effects of cyberbullying. Awareness is the key, they said.