Albany -- The New York State Senate approved a bill that would help to crackdown on cyberbullying at schools across the state.
The measure, known as the “Law to Encourage the Acceptance of All Differences,” or “LEAD,”does not make “bullying” a separate crime, but sets in place guidelines for education, investigation and enforcement to combat the problem in schools and in the community.
It was prompted by an increase in cyberbullying, believed to be linked to the tragic suicides of young people in New York State and across the country.
Earlier this month, Senator Patty Ritchie, a Cosponsor of the bill, met with Deputy Joe Murtha; School Resource Officer at Indian River Central School, Indian River High School Principal Troy Decker, Jefferson County District Attorney Cindy Intschert and Assistant District Attorney Rodney Kyle, Senator Ritchie to strategize ways to cut down on bullying in our region.
“I’ve seen firsthand how cyberbullying affects young adults and children, and anything we can do to teach them that there are consequences to their actions is a step in the right direction,” said Deputy Joe Murtha.
“This legislation is a good start to teaching children that bullying is not only hurtful, it’s unacceptable.”
A recent survey showed that cyberbullying is at an all-time high—with 43 percent of teenagers reporting being victims of cyberbullying.
The bill, which is expected to be passed by the Assembly, defines and prohibits the bullying of students and others on school property; both conventional and cyberbullying. It also lays out provisions to combat the growing epidemic, including:
· Adding bullying to the list of incidents for which disciplinary measures must be taken · Requiring school employees to report incidents of bullying · Requiring school districts to create policies and guidelines to encourage awareness of and to prohibit acts of bullying · Giving the Commissioner of Education the authority to set out regulations which would require certain school employees to be trained in how to identify and stop bullying
A fact sheet on the new cyberbullying bill can be found at this link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/97459106/Fact-Sheet-on-Cyberbullying-Law <http://www.scribd.com/doc/97459106/Fact-Sheet-on-Cyberbullying-Law>