News and Information
November 19, 2012

2013 High School Essay Contest Explores Online Teacher Intimidation by Students

If you were able to write a law making it illegal for students to try to intimidate their teacher online, what would it say? That’s the basic question the Virginia State Bar is asking students to address in this year’s Law in Society essay contest.

Virginia high school students are invited to submit essays for a chance to win the Law in Society competition and cash prizes. The contest is cosponsored by the Virginia State Bar's Communications Committee and the VSB Litigation Section. The deadline for submissions is February 13, 2013.

The essay contest asks students to imagine they are a legislative aide and write a law that addresses the following:

Recent news reports have detailed attempts by students to intimidate or torment teachers with disparaging Internet postings. Some of these postings include fake websites and profiles, false accusations of inappropriate behavior, or attempts to encourage other students to join in disruptive actions aimed at a teacher. Your job as a legislative aide is to draft a law that would make such postings illegal and then write a report to a General Assembly committee advocating for the law. In your report you should anticipate the arguments of those who oppose the law and address those arguments.

All Virginia students age 19 or younger and enrolled in grades 9–12 or a home-school equivalent are eligible to submit an essay.

Essays are limited to 1,000 words, and are judged on how well they demonstrate the student’s understanding of the role and value of the legal system in everyday life. Entries will be judged by attorneys, judges, and educators. The purpose of the contest is to awaken an interest in law and appreciation of the U.S. Constitution.

The first place winner will receive $2,300 and their winning essay will be published on the VSB website. Other awards include $1,850 (second place), $1,350 (third place), and honorable mentions of $250 each. All winners receive a plaque and copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. Awards will be presented in May at the winners’ schools.

More information, including contest rules and last year’s winning essay, is posted at

Updated: Nov 26, 2012