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1996- The Wisconsin State Legislature enacted Bill 858 Act 353, which outlines the “Unlawful use of computerized communication systems” and states the penalties for cyber harassment.
1998- The Department of Public Instruction published the “Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards for Information and Technology Literacy.” The document lays out what students should know and be capable of doing in regards to information and technology by fourth, eighth, and twelfth grade. Many of the points include a student’s ability to use the internet safely and understand which sites are appropriate according to their age and school environment, as well as how to analyze information.
2000- In order to continue to receive discounts on internet access, all schools and libraries must enforce an internet safety policy in accordance to CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act), signed into law in December. This policy must include preventing access through computers to images and depictions that are harmful to minors.
2006- Wisconsin’s Department of Justice partners with ‘NetSmartz”, an organization dedicated to preventing online victimization and teaching kids how to make responsible decisions online.
2008- ReadyWisconsin is launched. Funded by US Homeland Security, the campaign is meant to help residents’ emergency preparedness with ancillary materials and information, in addition to asking families and create an emergency supply kit and plan. The campaign contains a section on cyber security with newsletters and tips dedicated to online information safety and how to keep children safe online as well.
2010- Wisconsin passed a comprehensive school safety law which required all schools to create or adopt a school policy on bullying. Cyberbullying is not mentioned specifically as each school is required to form their own definition of bullying as part of the policy.
2013- Wisconsin hosted its first Cyber Security Summit. The summit brings together international and national experts from public and private sectors to discuss cyber security and how best to deal with the threats cyber attacks pose. The summit is held annually.
2015- By 2015, 177 school districts out of 424 in Wisconsin had implemented a 1-to-1 program or bring your own device program, which either provides laptops/computers or permits students to use their own laptop/computer in school, and allows for a more technologically immersive academic experience while teaching students cyber safety.
2016- Wisconsin passes law that will fine the parents of children hundreds of dollars if their kids bully others. Bullying includes the use of social media and other internet bases. The parents are given a warning and then fined if their child continues to harass others. Multiple offenses warrant higher fines.
2017 - Governor Scott Walker announces his budget, which not only increases the K-12 education budget by $649 million but also increases budgets for mental health services, increased infrastructure budgets, and more available funds to the “Act Now!” anti-bullying curriculum.
2018 - Senate Bill 301, along with 40 others bills, was passed into law; this bill expands the types of online summer classes that qualify for financial assistance. It is Act 151.
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
The Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin provides a variety of e-learning programs so that parents and teachers can work towards bringing important health and wellness concepts to students in grades 4-8. Their e-learning program about anti-bullying called “Act Now!” is being implemented in 98 school districts, and it brings a fun educational game to the classroom to educate pre-teens and teens about bullying before going to high school.
Clearinghouse for Missing & Exploited Children & Adults
The Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Missing and Exploited Children and Adults is affiliated with the Wisconsin Department of Justice. It is a resources for both parents and law enforcement alike since they provide information on runaways, abductions, sexual exploitation, and safety. They also work alongside law enforcement and other organisations like the National Center for Missing Exploited Children to solve cases by lending resources such as ‘technical investigative assistance, referrals, and advocacy in navigating the criminal justice system.’
Kids Forward is a private, non-profit, non-partisan statewide organisation first established in 1881 as the Wisconsin Conference on Charities and Corrections. From then on they have focused on enhancing families through improved publicly funded healthcare, education, workforce development and social services.
Web Safety 4 Kids
Created in 2011, Web Safety 4 Kids provides presentations, workshops, and advice for schools, organisations, and others on dangerous online situations and how best to protect children from them.
Wisconsin’s adoption agency, in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, has created a tip sheet for adoptive parents on how to teach their children to use the Internet responsibly.
WI Media Lab
The Wisconsin Public Television Education team curates educational resources for parents and teachers alike; topics covered range from anti-bullying to education empowerment. They are a service of the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board and the University of Wisconsin Extension.
Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
The Department of Children and Families’ Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force is in the process of developing an approach to preventing trafficking of minors as well as providing services and support to at-risk youth and survivors.
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
The Department of Public Instruction is dedicated to the safety of children online and provides information and resources for parents and schools that include safety requirements that must be fulfilled in order for a school district to receive the Internet. DPI also provides grants to state-funded schools pushing for technology-enhanced curriculums.
Wisconsin Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
Wisconsin’s branch of the national ICAC investigates and prosecutes offenders as well as provides training for parents and teachers and other community members on how to keep both children and themselves safe on the internet. The WICAC also produces a podcast titled “Protect Kids Online” or PKO with topics ranging from latest apps to internet safety laws and healthy online habits.
Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association
WSTA’s Education and Safety Committee is dedicated to keeping children safe online by educating parents on potential dangers on the Internet.
School and Library Broadband and Internet Access in Wisconsin: A Background Paper (2012)Bob Bocher
This paper attempts to answer the multitude of questions brought up regarding education and library communities' access to affordable broadband and Internet services by examining how schools and libraries get their broadband and Internet access.
Student Learning Through Wisconsin School Library Media Centers (2006)Ester G Smith
This study provides empirical evidence of the impact of a quality school library media program on student learning by examining the leadership and instructional roles of Wisconsin public school library media specialists.
Wisconsin Public High School Business Teachers' Use of the Internet as a Teaching and Learning Tool (2000)Robert Ristau, Harriet Rogers, Floyd Crank
This study looks at Wisconsin public high school business teachers and their use of technology and computers in their classroom. Findings include student motivation and current information as positive features and insufficient computers and speed of access were the main obstacles.
This section contains details of the state’s laws as they relate to sexual offenses, children and the use of the Internet in the commission of criminal activity. Where possible, sentence details have been given, including whether an increased custodial penalty is imposed where the victim is a child.
The age of consent in Wisconsin is 18.
The penalties for felonies in Wisconsin are as follows, unless otherwise specified:
Class A felony: life imprisonment.
Class B felony: up to 60 years’ imprisonment.
Class C felony: up to 40 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $100,000 or both.
Class D felony: up to 25 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $100,000 or both.
Class E felony: up to fifteen years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $50,000 or both.
Class F felony: up to twelve years and six months’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $25,000 or both.
Class G felony: up to ten years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $25,000 or both.
Class H felony: up to six years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.
Class I felony: up to three years and six months’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.
The penalties for misdemeanors are as follows, unless otherwise specified:
Class A misdemeanor: up to nine months’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.
Class B felony: up to 90 days’ imprisonment a fine of up to £1,000 or both.
Class C felony: up to 30 days’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $500 or both.
Wisconsin Statutes (WIS) 118.46 Policy on Bullying. States that the Department of Education is responsible for developing a model school policy on bullying by pupils, which must contain, among other things, a definition and prohibition of bullying, a reporting procedure, a prohibition against a pupil retaliating against another for reporting a bullying incident, as well as a procedure for investigating incidents. Furthermore, each school board has to adopt a policy prohibiting bullying by pupils, which may be based on the model policy.
WIS 940.225 First Degree Sexual Assault. This section states that it is a criminal offense for a person to engage in sexual contact or sexual intercourse with another person without consent, or through force, where serious injury or pregnancy results. The section also includes being aided and abetted by other persons, using force or the threat of force to accomplish the assault. This offense is deemed to be a Class B felony.
WIS 940.225 Second Degree Sexual Assault. States that it is unlawful to engage in sexual intercourse or sexual contact with a person without their consent by use or threat of force or violence, where they are unconscious or were aided by another person, among other definitions. This offense is deemed to be a Class C felony.
WIS 940.225 Third Degree Sexual Assault. Defines the offense as having sexual intercourse or sexual contact with a person without their consent, where no aggravating circumstances apply. The offense is deemed to be a Class G felony.
WIS 940.225 Fourth Degree Sexual Assault. In circumstances not amounting to third degree sexual assault any person who engages in sexual contact with a person without consent is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
WIS 940.32 Stalking. Defines the offense as intentionally engaging in a course of conduct that (among other definitions) causes significant emotional distress, or causes fear of bodily injury. The offense is deemed to be a Class I felony. The term “course of conduct” is used in this context to mean two or more actions (specified within the statute) over a period of time, which show a continuity of purpose. It is also a Class I felony if offender has previously been convicted of a domestic violence or sexual assault offense and directs their actions towards the victim of that offense. If the offender has previously been convicted of an offense under this section, or has a previous conviction for a violent offense, it is deemed to be a Class H felony. It is also a Class H felony where the offender gains access to information in an electronic format which contains personally identifying information about the victim in order to facilitate their crime, or if the victim is under eighteen years of age. The offense is upgraded to a Class F felony if the offender’s act results in bodily harm to the victim or if a dangerous weapon is used in the commission of the offense.
WIS 942.09 Representations depicting nudity. States that it is a Class I felony to make a recording or to capture an image of a person, whilst they are nude and without consent, in a place where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The section also states that it is unlawful to make a reproduction of an image of a person in the nude without their consent, or to possess such an image. Where such an image is captured in a locker room it is a Class B misdemeanor.
WIS 942.17 Sexual Gratification. This section states that anyone who commits an act of sexual gratification in public involving sex organs is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
WIS 944.20 Lewd and Lascivious Behavior. Deems it to be a Class A misdemeanor to engage in an act of sexual gratification in public or to expose one’s genitals in a public area, knowing that others are present.
WIS 944.21 Obscene Material or Performance. It is defined as a criminal offense to print, sell, produce, possess for sale, distribute, exhibit, play or perform in, any obscene material. It is also unlawful to distribute or display such material to anyone under the age of eighteen. An offense under this section may be a Class A misdemeanor but if the offender has two or more previous convictions under this section the crime is upgraded to a Class H felony. If the matter is deemed to have been for wholesale transfer or distribution the offense is deemed to be a Class H felony.
WIS 944.25 Sending Obscene or Sexually Explicit Electronic Messages. This section states that it is a crime to send an unsolicited electronic mail solicitation to a person which contains obscene material or a depiction of sexually explicit conduct. This is a Class A misdemeanor unless ‘Adult Advertisement’ is included in the subject line.
WIS 947.0125 Unlawful Use of Computerized Communication Systems. States that it is a Class B misdemeanor to use computer systems to send a message to another person, threatening to inflict injury or physical harm, with intent to threaten, intimidate, harass or frighten another person. The same applies if message was sent with the same intent contained any obscene, lewd or profane language. It is also classed as a Class B misdemeanor to send anonymous messages to another person through a computer system with intent solely to harass or annoy the recipient.
WIS 947.013 Harassment. States that it is against the law to engage in a course of conduct which repeatedly harasses another person without a legitimate purpose. This is a Class A misdemeanor when it causes the victim to fear death or great bodily harm. It becomes a Class I felony for subsequent convictions if they involve the same victim and occur within seven years of a previous conviction under this section. Where personally identifiable information is obtained electronically to facilitate the harassment it is deemed to be a Class H felony offense.
WIS 948.02 First Degree Sexual Assault. The crime is defined as when a person engages in sexual contact or sexual intercourse with a child under thirteen years of age and where serious injury results. The offense is deemed to be a Class A felony. It is a Class B felony to engage in sexual intercourse with a child under the age of twelve. The section also defines the offense of engaging in sexual intercourse with a person under sixteen where the threat of violence is used. This crime, and that of engaging in sexual contact with a child under the age of sixteen where the threat of violence is used and where the offender is over eighteen, is also deemed to be a Class B felony. It is also a Class B felony to engage in sexual contact with a child under the age of thirteen.
WIS 948.02 Second Degree Sexual Assault. Defines the offense as when a person has sexual contact or sexual intercourse with a person under the age of sixteen and deems it to be a Class C felony.
WIS 948.05 Sexual Exploitation of a Child. This section states that it is unlawful to entice, persuade or employ a child to engage in sexually explicit conduct that is recorded or displayed in any way. This is deemed to be a Class C felony. The offense of recording, importing, displaying or distributing such material is also a Class C felony. Where the offender was under eighteen at the time of the offense it is deemed to be a Class F felony.
WIS 948.051 Trafficking of a Child. Defines the offense as to knowingly recruit, obtain, entice, provide or harbor a child for the purposes of commercial sexual acts, which is deemed to be a Class C felony. Benefitting in any way from this offense is a also a Class C felony.
WIS 948.055 Causing a Child to View or Listen to Sexual Activity. This offense is defined as when a person causes a child to view or listen to sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of gratifying their sexual desire. If the child is under the age of thirteen it is deemed to be a Class F felony. Where the child is under eighteen but of or over the age of thirteen it is deemed to be a Class H felony.
WIS 948.07 Child Enticement. States that it is a Class D felony to cause a minor to enter a vehicle, building, room or secluded place for the purpose of engaging in sexual intercourse or sexual contact, or to expose the genitalia of either party or to record the child engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
WIS 948.075 Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime. States that it is against the law to use a computer system to communicate with a child under the age of sixteen with the intent to have sexual contact or sexual intercourse with them. This is a Class C felony, unless the offender reasonably believed the victim to be less than 24 months younger than them.
WIS 948.08 Soliciting a Child for Prostitution. Classes the solicitation of a child for the purposes of prostitution as a Class De felony offense.
WIS 948.09 Sexual Intercourse with a Child Aged 16 or Older. Defines the offense of having sexual intercourse with a child who is not their spouse but over the age of sixteen and deems it to be a Class A misdemeanor. WIS 948.093 Underage sexual activity. Defines the offense of an actor under nineteen having sexual contact or intercourse with a child under the age of sixteen who is not their spouse; this is deemed a Class A misdemeanor.
WIS 948.10 Exposing Genitals or Pubic Area. States that it is unlawful for a person to expose their genitals or pubic area to a child for the purposes of sexual arousal or gratification. This is a Class A misdemeanor.
WIS 948.11 Exposing a Child to Harmful Material or Harmful Descriptions or Narrations. This section states that it is a crime to display, sell, rent, distribute etc any material to a minor which is harmful to them, this includes depictions of nudity, sexually explicit conduct, sexual excitement, sadomasochistic abuse, physical torture or brutality. This is a Class I felony if the offender knew or had reasonable suspicion that the child was under the age of eighteen. Possession with intent to sell, distribute or loan the material to a minor is a Class A misdemeanor.
WIS 948.12 Possession of Child Pornography. This section states that anyone who possesses, or accesses in any way with intent to view, material which shows a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct, knowing the character and content of that material, commits a Class D felony. Where the offender was under eighteen at the time of the offense it is deemed to be a Class I felony.