A Law Protecting Teachers from Cyber Bullying, and New York City's Hottest Tech Ticket

Students study with their laptop computers.

North Carolina is taking a hard line against kids who bully teachers online. There's a new law with fines up to $1000 for students putting up a fake Facebook site about the teacher, no tweeting private or sexual info about the teacher or other school employees or doctoring photos.

But Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center worries the criminalization goes too far.

"If I setup a website criticizing the superintendent saying we should get rid of the superintendent," says LoMonte, "I could be committing a crime in North Carolina right now.

The Classroom Teachers Association of North Carolina pushed for the law after several ugly false allegations.


Here's the definition of a hot ticket: Every month New York Tech Meetup sells out in just four minutes... and the theater's a big one at NYU. Venture capitalists are here along with engineers,  designers, and start ups both theoretical and already online.

"We're excited to show people what we're doing because we love to help people," says former New York Times reporter Jeanne Pinder. "Also it would be nice to find like-minded people who could either be business partners, potentially investors. And maybe an engineer or two."

Pinder created one of the startups presenting at this month's event, Clear Health Costs.  She will get a couple of minutes on stage to tell the story of Clear Health Costs-dot-com, a guide to one of life's great mysteries: the true cost of medical procedures. 

"Once I got a hospital bill for $1,419 for a drug I found I could buy for $2.47." says Pinder "Everybody's got a story and that was one of the things that launched us on this quest to tell people what stuff costs in health care."

Her site lists prices for procedures like mammograms:  $607 at a fancy hospital in Manhattan or $50 bucks at a place in Queens.  If she had more money, she'd expand beyond New York.

The New York tech meetup started 11 years ago with just two people in a room. By last year its membership reached 15,000 and it's nearly doubled since then.

Ross Goldstein is a venture capitalist from DFJ Gotham. He spotted a start up at a Meetup gathering just like this one  and helped fund the thing. The company was later sold to Facebook. He says the tech scene in NY now has a track record.

"People have to see that this is a place where you can start a company, grow a company, and exit and sell it or go public," says Goldstein. "And we now have many examples of that.  And as soon as people see that you can do that in any marketplace, it becomes an attraction that brings other people  to the scene. And that's exactly what's happened in New York City."

Tomorrow we conclude our focus on NY tech: with a look at Google and  why it needed to buy one of the longest buildings in this city.

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio

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