Cyberbullying Legislation Signed Into Law

Law will help protect students from cyberbullying as well as other forms of harassment, bullying, and discrimination
July 16, 2012

Assemblymember Steven Englebright, (D Setauket), applauded Governor Cuomo for signing legislation into law (Chapter 102 of 2012) that is designed to strengthen a school's response to cyberbullying and harassment through improved reporting, investigation, intervention, training and prevention. Cyberbullying is the use of the Internet and related social media technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner.

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.

“The power of this law, which I was proud to co-sponsor in the Assembly,” Englebright said, “is that our schools will play a vital role by working with families, communities and law enforcement to prevent harassment, bullying and discrimination, and to fully create an atmosphere where students feel safe and can learn without fear. I congratulate Governor Cuomo for signing this bill into law.”

In 2009, more than 7 million U.S. students ages 12-18 – representing 28 percent of all students in that age range – were bullied at school and more than 1.5 million students – 6 percent – were subject to cyberbullying on or off school property. A 2011 survey of New York high school students revealed that, during the previous year, nearly 18 percent had been bullied on school property and 16 percent had experienced cyberbullying through e-mail, social media, chat rooms, instant messaging, Web sites, texting or other electronic means. Recent well-publicized cases involving cyberbullying – sometimes combined with other forms of bullying – have led to suicide. If left unattended, bullying can rapidly escalate into even more serious violence and abuse.