Albany, NY (WBEN) Governor Cuomo has signed a law aimed at protecting kids from cyberbullying, as well as other forms of bullying and harassment.
The new law is designed to strengthen a school's response to harassment and bullying through improved reporting, investigation, intervention, training and prevention. The new law requires schools to take action when students experience cyberbullying or other forms of harassment. It ensures that school districts take immediate steps to end harmful behavior, prevent recurrences, and ensure the safety of the targeted students. The legislation also establishes improved training to help teachers and administrators better prevent and respond to bullying and other harmful acts.
"We must do all we can to ensure that every child in New York State feels safe in the classroom, and this new law will help our schools create an environment that is conducive to educational success," Governor Cuomo said. "Under this new law, schools will play an important role – working with families, communities and law enforcement – to prevent harassment, bullying and discrimination, and to support a student's right to learn. I commend Majority Leader Skelos, Speaker Silver, the bill sponsors, and the many advocates who worked hard in helping put this comprehensive bill together."
The new law cracks down on cyberbullying through the following provisions:
Requires Schools to Act When Cyberbullying Occurs
The law requires that schools act in cases of cyberbullying, which may occur on or off campus, when it creates or would create a substantial risk to the school environment, substantially interferes with a student’s educational performance or mental, emotional or physical well-being, or causes a student to fear for his or her physical safety.
Ensures Proper Protocols Are in Place to Deal with Cyberbullying
The law requires school districts to put in place protocols to deal with cyberbullying, harassment, bullying and discrimination, including assignment of a school official to receive and investigate reports; prompt reporting and investigation; responsive actions to prevent recurrence of any verified bullying; coordination with law enforcement when appropriate; development of a bullying prevention strategy; and notice to all school community members of the school’s policies.
Sets Training Requirements For School Employees to Help Identify and Prevent Cyberbullying
The law sets training requirements for current school employees, as well as for new teachers and administrators applying for a certificate or license, on the identification and mitigation of harassment, bullying, cyberbullying and discrimination.
Well, nice going Cuomo, and Silvers--two of the biggest proponents of putting out new legislation with no positive effect. They do stay in the spotlight, though. This law duplicates anti-harrassment, anti-abuse laws in this state. Take a close look at the wording. It's all about "trying" to get these things done while "educating" everyone about what cyber-bullying is, and giving a method to pass the word along to various levels (aka a good grape vine or phone tree used for gossip). That's all it does. The good school district employees try to do something, both in and out of school. The costs will come from the "educating" school district employees, and from the resulting lawsuits now that the districts are the 'deep pockets' a cyberbullied individual might be looking for. Eduate the employees about what the law is and how it is to be implemented, and rewriting the manuals, and passing it before Boards of Education, and notifying everyone, etc. Then, when it fails to prevent cyberbullying, as failure is inevitible, then the cyberbullied get to try suing for large punitive judgements. Thank you legislators Cuomo and Silver!