Gov. Cuomo Takes on Cyberbullying in New Bill

Written by NYPress on . Posted in Breaking News, News Our Town, News Our Town Downtown, Our Town, Our Town Downtown.

Law forces schools to be conscientious when responding to and avoiding threats

Cyberbullies Beware - photo courtesy of Flickr Commons

New York lawmakers have bullied back at the state’s cyberbullies, and have made another step forward in protecting young students from the perils of the internet.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed a bill requiring schools to be vigilant when addressing cyberbullying complaints. The bill is expected to be passed before the current legislation gathering disbands on Thursday, says the Daily News.

According to Cuomo’s memo in support of the bill, 6% of students between the age of 12 and 18, 1.5 million, were cyberbullied either on or off their school’s campus.

“Cyberbullying is a new and insidious form of bullying,” Cuomo said in his statement. “Cyberbullying and other forms of bullying pose a serious risk to school safety and educational success for all children. Every student needs to feel safe in order to maximize his or her academic and social potential.”

The bill will require schools to develop a standard process to respond to potential cyberbullying, to work willingly with police on the matter, and to select an official to directly address a complaint or danger.

They’ll also be required, with the help of the Commissioner, to create curriculum for each age group, teaching the dangers of the internet.

Finally, all teachers or staff applying for employment after June 30, 2013 must be certified in identifying the “social patterns of harassment and bullying”.

One thing that has citizens upset, though, and rightfully so, is that it does not designate cyberbullying as a specific crime, and doesn’t mention any punitive action against offenders.

The bill would probably take effect on July 1, 2013, but there’s a chance it will take effect on July 1, 2012.

–Nick Gallinelli

Follow Governor Cuomo on Twitter – @NYGovCuomo

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