Attorney General Jim Hood is today launching an online safety awareness 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 Attorney General 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."
Before launching this campaign, the Attorney General has reached out to the Mississippi Department of Education and to all Colleges and Universities across the state seeking assistance in getting the word out and directly to students. The response has been overwhelmingly supportive.
"I genuinely appreciate the assistance of so many of our educational leaders in this initiative," said Attorney General Hood. "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."
The campaign launch begins with the dissemination of two posters-created especially for this campaign by the Attorney General's Office-- to participating schools. The posters are 11 x 14 in size and can be viewed, downloaded and printed by visiting www.agjimhood.com, click on "media center" and then "online safety awareness campaign". Also available on the website is a television and radio PSA that will be provided to campus television and radio stations.
The Attorney General is also organizing a press conference specifically for student reporters. Details on that event will be sent directly to participating schools. Any student reporter/editor with an interest in participating may contact Jan Schaefer with the Attorney General's Office at email@example.com or 601-359-2002.
Those currently participating in the initiative include: 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.
The Attorney General invites all concerned Mississippians-- particularly parents, teachers and students—to take an active role in this initiative by disseminating this information on their school campuses.
Said Attorney General Hood: "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."