Enacts provisions to ensure that New York state public schools are safe and free from cyber-bullying.
Ayes (17): Flanagan, Farley, Lanza, LaValle, Marcellino, Maziarz, Ranzenhofer, Robach, Saland, Seward, Oppenheimer, Addabbo, Avella, Breslin, Serrano, Stavisky, Huntley
Nays (1): Montgomery
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to prohibiting cyber-bullying
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To define and prohibit cyber-bullying.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1. Provides that it is the Legislature's intent to continue to ensure that New York State's public schools are safe and free from cyber-bullying.
Section 2. The education law is amended by adding a new section 2803 to define cyber-bullying as engaging in acts of abusive behavior over a period of time by communication sent by mechanical or electronic means, posting statements on the internet or through a computer network. Any incident of cyber-bullying would be an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment.
JUSTIFICATION: Bullying is a long-standing problem among school-aged children. With increasing accessibility to electronic means of communication, bullying has transformed from a predominantly school-based issue to a broader societal problem. Bullying now goes beyond the classroom to bullying on the job, on athletic teams and through the internet. One way to combat cyber-bullying is to maintain and enforce consistent policies against bullying and harassment, including cyber-bullying.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the State.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6614 IN SENATE March 5, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. RANZENHOFER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to prohibiting cyber-bul- lying THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative intent. The legislature finds that: a. Bullying is a long-standing problem among school-aged children in New York state and throughout the nation. With increasing accessibility to electronic means of communication, bullying has transformed from a predominantly school-based issue to a broader societal problem. b. Researchers have demonstrated that bullying has long-term conse- quences. Further, bullying goes beyond the classroom to bullying on the job, on athletic teams, on college campuses and the internet. c. Experts researching bullying have suggested that one tool for schools to use in combatting bullying is to maintain and enforce consistent policies against bullying and harassment, including cyber- bullying. Such enforcement is not always possible if bullying occurs away from school or by a non-student. d. Perpetrators of cyber-bullying are often more extreme in the threats and taunts they inflict on their victims, as they do not actual- ly see their victim's emotional reaction to the abuse and believe that they are anonymous. Victims of cyber-bullying suffer very real and seri- ous harm as a result of these incidents, often showing signs of depression, anxiety, social isolation, nervousness when interacting with technology, low self-esteem and declining school performance. In some cases, victims attempt or commit suicide in part because of cyber-bully- ing they've endured. e. Enactment of this act is necessary and appropriate to further ensure that New York state's public schools are safe and free from cyber-bullying. S 2. The education law is amended by adding a new section 2803 to read as follows:EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD13596-01-1 S. 6614 2
S 2803. CYBER-BULLYING. 1. AS USED IN THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING TERMS SHALL MEAN AS FOLLOWS: A. CYBER-BULLYING SHALL MEAN ENGAGING IN A COURSE OF CONDUCT OR REPEATEDLY COMMITTING ACTS OF ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR OVER A PERIOD OF TIME BY COMMUNICATING OR CAUSING A COMMUNICATION TO BE SENT BY MECHANICAL OR ELECTRONIC MEANS, POSTING STATEMENTS ON THE INTERNET OR THROUGH A COMPUTER NETWORK. ACTS OF ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, TAUNTING; THREATENING; INTIMIDATING; INSULTING; TORMENTING; HUMILIATING; DISSEMINATING EMBARRASSING OR SEXUALLY EXPLICIT PHOTO- GRAPHS, EITHER ACTUAL OR MODIFIED, OF A MINOR; DISSEMINATING THE PRIVATE, PERSONAL OR SEXUAL INFORMATION, EITHER FACTUAL OR FALSE, OF A MINOR; OR SENDING HATE MAIL. B. MINOR SHALL MEAN ANY NATURAL PERSON OR INDIVIDUAL UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN. C. PERSON SHALL MEAN ANY NATURAL PERSON, INDIVIDUAL, CORPORATION, UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION, PROPRIETORSHIP, FIRM, PARTNERSHIP, JOINT VENTURE, JOINT-STOCK ASSOCIATION, OR OTHER ENTITY OR BUSINESS ORGANIZA- TION OF ANY KIND. 2. NO PERSON SHALL ENGAGE IN CYBER-BULLYING AGAINST ANY MINOR OR PERSON. 3. ANY PERSON WHO KNOWINGLY VIOLATES THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE GUILTY OF AN UNCLASSIFIED MISDEMEANOR PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF UP TO ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS AND/OR UP TO ONE YEAR IMPRISONMENT. 4. THIS SECTION SHALL APPLY TO ALL ACTIONS OCCURRING ON OR AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION. 5. IF ANY CLAUSE, SENTENCE, PARAGRAPH OR PART OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE ADJUDGED BY ANY COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION TO BE INVALID, SUCH JUDGMENT SHALL NOT AFFECT, IMPAIR OR INVALIDATE THE REMAINDER THEREOF, BUT SHALL BE CONFINED IN ITS OPERATION TO THE CLAUSE, SENTENCE, PARA- GRAPH OR PART THEREOF DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN THE CONTROVERSY IN WHICH SUCH JUDGMENT SHALL HAVE BEEN RENDERED. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.