Bill S7740-2011

Prohibits bullying and cyberbullying in public schools

Prohibits bullying and cyberbullying in public schools.

Details

Actions

  • Jul 9, 2012: SIGNED CHAP.102
  • Jul 9, 2012: DELIVERED TO GOVERNOR
  • Jun 18, 2012: returned to senate
  • Jun 18, 2012: passed assembly
  • Jun 18, 2012: ordered to third reading rules cal.376
  • Jun 18, 2012: substituted for a10712
  • Jun 18, 2012: referred to education
  • Jun 18, 2012: DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • Jun 18, 2012: PASSED SENATE
  • Jun 18, 2012: ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.1301
  • Jun 15, 2012: REFERRED TO RULES

Meetings

Calendars

Votes

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S7740

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to prohibiting bullying and cyberbullying in public schools

PURPOSE: This legislation will protect students from cyberbullying as well as harassment, bullying and discrimination by requiring school districts to: (1) establish protocols to respond to cyberbullying, harassment, bullying and discrimination, including designating a school official to receive and investigate reports, prompt reporting and investigation; (2) take actions to prevent recurrences; (3) coordinate with law enforcement when appropriate; (4) develop a bullying prevention strategy; and (5) provide notice to all school community members of the school's policies. It would also set training requirements for current and new school employees.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill contains legislative findings on the impact of cyberbullying and legislative intent regarding the appropriate response to harassment, bullying, cyberbullying and discrimination.

Section 2 would amend Education Law § 11 to define "bullying" as having the same meaning as "harassment" and provide that "harassment" and "bullying" means the creation of a hostile environment by conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse that: (a) has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student's education or well-being; (b) reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety; (c) reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause physical injury or emotional harm to a student; or (d) occurs off school property and creates or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment, where it is foreseeable that the action might reach school property. It also would define "cyberbullying" as harassment or bullying that occurs through any form of electronic communication.

Section 3 would amend Education Law § 12 by adding the term "bullying" to conform to section 2 of the bill.

Section 4 would amend Education Law § 13 to direct local school districts to establish policies and procedures to address cyberbullying, harassment, bullying and discrimination that do the following: (a) identify a school official charged with receiving reports of such acts; (b) enable students and parents to make a report; (c) require school employees who witness or receive a report to promptly notify the appropriate school official orally within one school day and in writing within three school days; (d) require a school official to lead or supervise a prompt and thorough investigation of all reports and to notify law enforcement when appropriate; (e) when an investigation reveals verified harassment, bullying or discrimination, take prompt responsive action; (f) prohibit

retaliation against any individual who assists in an investigation under this section; (g) establish a strategy to prevent harassment, bullying and discrimination; (h) require schools to make a regular report on harassment, bullying and discrimination data and trends to the district superintendent; (i) make appropriate references to the code of conduct; (j) inform all school community members of the policies; and (k) post the policies on the school's website.

This section also would direct school districts to develop guidelines relating to measured, balanced and age-appropriate responses to harassment, bullying or discrimination by students, with remedies and procedures following a progressive model.

Finally, this section would require that school training conducted by school districts pursuant to Education Law § 13 address: (a) the identification, effects and mitigation of harassment, bullying, cyberbullying and discrimination; (b) social patterns of bullying; and (d) strategies for effectively addressing problems of exclusion, bias and aggression in educational settings.

Section 5 would amend Education Law § 14 by directing the State Education Commissioner to promulgate regulations to assist school districts in developing guidelines relating to measured, balanced and age-appropriate responses to harassment, bullying or discrimination by students. The Commissioner would also provide guidance and educational materials to school districts related to best practices and engaging families and communities in addressing cyberbullying.

This section also would require school professionals applying after June 30, 2013 for a certificate or license to complete training on the social patterns of harassment and bullying, the identification and mitigation of harassment, bullying and discrimination, and strategies for effectively addressing problems of exclusion, bias and aggression in educational settings.

Section 6 would amend Education Law § 15 to add the term "bullying" to conform to section 2 of the bill.

Section 7 would amend Education Law § 16 to provide immunity from civil liability for school personnel who take actions in response to an investigation conducted under section 4 of this bill, or who notify law enforcement authorities in compliance with that section, where those persons act reasonably and in good faith and have reasonable cause to suspect that a student has been subjected to harassment, bullying, cyberbullying or discrimination by an employee or student on school grounds or at a school function.

Section 8 would amend Education Law § 801-a to require that civility, citizenship and character education in grades kindergarten through twelve include components that: (a) emphasize discouraging acts of harassment, bullying and discrimination; and (b) teach safe, responsible

use of the Internet and electronic communications. Section 9 would establish the effective date of the bill.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is a new bill.

STATEMENT IN SUPPORT: 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. Children cannot succeed when they fear for their safety at school, worry about being bullied or cyberbullied, or suffer discrimination and taunts because of their ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability or any other reason.

Bullying is especially dangerous because, if left unattended, it can rapidly escalate into even more serious violence and abuse. Research has identified a range of serious and long-term consequences associated with bullying behavior that include increased depression, substance use, aggressive impulses, and school truancy by its victims (U.S. Department of Education, 2011). A number of suicides among school-age children and adolescents in New York and nationwide have been linked to chronic bullying and have attracted national attention to the issue.

Cyberbullying is a new and especially insidious form of bullying. It allows bullies to do their work at a distance, outside of schools, in front of a broad audience and sometimes under the protection of anonymity. The use of technology to rapidly transmit vicious content to a wide audience makes acts of cyberbullying highly visible, more pervasive. Research has revealed a link between cyberbullying and low self-esteem, family problems, academic problems, school violence and delinquent behavior (Cyberbullying Research Center, 2012). Recent well-publicized cases involve acts of cyberbullying - sometimes combined with other forms of bullying - that have led to suicide. The threats of cyberbullying and its 24/7 exposure to students makes this a particularly important topic for schools to address.

Bullying and cyberbullying affect many students. 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 cyberbullied on or off school property (U.S. Department of Education, 2011). A 2011 survey of New York State high school students revealed that during the previous year nearly 18 percent of students had been bullied on school property and 16 percent (including nearly 21 percent of girls) had been cyberbullied through e-mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, Web sites, texting or other electronic means (Youth Risk Behavior Survey, CDC, 2011).

This bill would require that schools take action when students experience cyberbullying, harassment, bullying or discrimination. It would ensure that school districts immediately seek to end the harmful behavior, prevent recurrence and ensure the safety of the targeted students.

It also would establish training to strengthen the ability of teachers and administrators to prevent and respond to such acts.

This legislation is an essential step in the State's ongoing effort to improve education. Every child is entitled to feel safe in the classroom. Failure to respond immediately and appropriately negatively impacts education and fuels violence.

BUDGET IMPLICATIONS: No fiscal impact.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This bill would take effect July 1, 2013, except that if Chapter 482 of the Laws of 2010 has not taken effect by that date, then this bill would take effect on the same date as that chapter. As enacted, Chapter 482 is scheduled to take effect July 1, 2012.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ S. 7740 A. 10712 S E N A T E - A S S E M B L Y June 15, 2012 ___________
IN SENATE -- Introduced by Sens. SALAND, RANZENHOFER, KLEIN -- (at request of the Governor) -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules IN ASSEMBLY -- Introduced by COMMITTEE ON RULES -- (at request of M. of A. O'Donnell, Nolan) -- (at request of the Governor) -- read once and referred to the Committee on Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to prohibiting bullying and cyberbullying in public schools THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative findings and intent. In recent years, New York state has taken steps to ensure that school pupils, teachers and other personnel are provided with a safe and secure learning environment. However, the legislature recognizes that egregious incidents of harass- ment, bullying and discrimination, both in person and through the use of technology, continue to disrupt the lives and education of students across the state, and that bullying manifests in many forms, including through the use of technology in what is often called cyberbullying. In today's age of advanced technology, twenty-four hour connectivity and social networking, students who are subjected to bullying, such as the texting or posting of sexually derogatory comments via such social networking sites or by other means, have no reprieve. Bullying that begins in school follows students home every day, and has lasting impacts on such students. Conversely, bullying through the use of tech- nology can begin away from school property. The legislature also recognizes that most cyberbullying originates off-campus, but nonetheless affects the school environment and disrupts the educational process, impeding the ability of students to learn and too often causing devastating effects on students' health and well-be- ing. The legislature finds it is vital to protect all students from harass- ment, bullying, cyberbullying and discrimination. In expanding the provisions of the Dignity for All Students Act, the legislature intends
to give school districts tools to address these harmful acts consistent with the emerging research in the field. Bullying, harassment and discrimination pose a serious threat to all students, including but not limited to students targeted because of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex. It is imperative to protect every student from such harm regardless of whether the student is a member of a specific category. S 2. Subdivision 7 of section 11 of the education law, as added by chapter 482 of the laws of 2010, is amended and a new subdivision 8 is added to read as follows: 7. "Harassment" AND "BULLYING" shall mean the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by [verbal] threats, intimidation or abuse, INCLUDING CYBERBULLYING, that (A) has or would have the effect of unrea- sonably and substantially interfering with a student's educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well-being; or [conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that] (B) reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety; [such conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse includes but is not limited to conduct, verbal threats, intimidation] or [abuse] (C) REASONABLY CAUSES OR WOULD REASON- ABLY BE EXPECTED TO CAUSE PHYSICAL INJURY OR EMOTIONAL HARM TO A STUDENT; OR (D) OCCURS OFF SCHOOL PROPERTY AND CREATES OR WOULD FORESEE- ABLY CREATE A RISK OF SUBSTANTIAL DISRUPTION WITHIN THE SCHOOL ENVIRON- MENT, WHERE IT IS FORESEEABLE THAT THE CONDUCT, THREATS, INTIMIDATION OR ABUSE MIGHT REACH SCHOOL PROPERTY. ACTS OF HARASSMENT AND BULLYING SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, THOSE ACTS based on a person's actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS DEFINITION THE TERM "THREATS, INTIMIDATION OR ABUSE" SHALL INCLUDE VERBAL AND NON-VERBAL ACTIONS. 8. "CYBERBULLYING" SHALL MEAN HARASSMENT OR BULLYING AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION SEVEN OF THIS SECTION, INCLUDING PARAGRAPHS (A), (B), (C) AND (D) OF SUCH SUBDIVISION, WHERE SUCH HARASSMENT OR BULLYING OCCURS THROUGH ANY FORM OF ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION. S 3. Subdivision 1 of section 12 of the education law, as added by chapter 482 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: 1. No student shall be subjected to harassment OR BULLYING by employ- ees or students on school property or at a school function; nor shall any student be subjected to discrimination based on a person's actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex by school employees or students on school property or at a school function. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit a denial of admission into, or exclusion from, a course of instruction based on a person's gender that would be permissible under section thirty-two hundred one-a or paragraph (a) of subdivision two of section twenty- eight hundred fifty-four of this chapter and title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. section 1681, et. seq.), or to prohibit, as discrimination based on disability, actions that would be permissible under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. S 4. Section 13 of the education law, as added by chapter 482 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: S 13. Policies and guidelines. The board of education and the trustees or sole trustee of every school district shall create policies, PROCE- DURES and guidelines that shall include, but not be limited to:
1. Policies AND PROCEDURES intended to create a school environment that is free from [discrimination or] harassment[;], BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION, THAT INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO PROVISIONS WHICH: A. IDENTIFY THE PRINCIPAL, SUPERINTENDENT OR THE PRINCIPAL'S OR SUPER- INTENDENT'S DESIGNEE AS THE SCHOOL EMPLOYEE CHARGED WITH RECEIVING REPORTS OF HARASSMENT, BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION; B. ENABLE STUDENTS AND PARENTS TO MAKE AN ORAL OR WRITTEN REPORT OF HARASSMENT, BULLYING OR DISCRIMINATION TO TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS AND OTHER SCHOOL PERSONNEL THAT THE SCHOOL DISTRICT DEEMS APPROPRIATE; C. REQUIRE SCHOOL EMPLOYEES WHO WITNESS HARASSMENT, BULLYING OR DISCRIMINATION, OR RECEIVE AN ORAL OR WRITTEN REPORT OF HARASSMENT, BULLYING OR DISCRIMINATION, TO PROMPTLY ORALLY NOTIFY THE PRINCIPAL, SUPERINTENDENT OR THE PRINCIPAL'S OR SUPERINTENDENT'S DESIGNEE NOT LATER THAN ONE SCHOOL DAY AFTER SUCH SCHOOL EMPLOYEE WITNESSES OR RECEIVES A REPORT OF HARASSMENT, BULLYING OR DISCRIMINATION, AND TO FILE A WRITTEN REPORT WITH THE PRINCIPAL, SUPERINTENDENT OR THE PRINCIPAL OR SUPER- INTENDENT'S DESIGNEE NOT LATER THAN TWO SCHOOL DAYS AFTER MAKING SUCH ORAL REPORT; D. REQUIRE THE PRINCIPAL, SUPERINTENDENT OR THE PRINCIPAL'S OR SUPER- INTENDENT'S DESIGNEE TO LEAD OR SUPERVISE THE THOROUGH INVESTIGATION OF ALL REPORTS OF HARASSMENT, BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION, AND TO ENSURE THAT SUCH INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETED PROMPTLY AFTER RECEIPT OF ANY WRIT- TEN REPORTS MADE UNDER THIS SECTION; E. REQUIRE THE SCHOOL, WHEN AN INVESTIGATION REVEALS ANY SUCH VERIFIED HARASSMENT, BULLYING OR DISCRIMINATION, TO TAKE PROMPT ACTIONS REASON- ABLY CALCULATED TO END THE HARASSMENT, BULLYING OR DISCRIMINATION, ELIM- INATE ANY HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT, CREATE A MORE POSITIVE SCHOOL CULTURE AND CLIMATE, PREVENT RECURRENCE OF THE BEHAVIOR, AND ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THE STUDENT OR STUDENTS AGAINST WHOM SUCH HARASSMENT, BULLYING OR DISCRIMINATION WAS DIRECTED. SUCH ACTIONS SHALL BE CONSISTENT WITH THE GUIDELINES CREATED PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION FOUR OF THIS SECTION; F. PROHIBIT RETALIATION AGAINST ANY INDIVIDUAL WHO, IN GOOD FAITH, REPORTS, OR ASSISTS IN THE INVESTIGATION OF, HARASSMENT, BULLYING OR DISCRIMINATION; G. INCLUDE A SCHOOL STRATEGY TO PREVENT HARASSMENT, BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION; H. REQUIRE THE PRINCIPAL TO MAKE A REGULAR REPORT ON DATA AND TRENDS RELATED TO HARASSMENT, BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION TO THE SUPERINTEN- DENT; I. REQUIRE THE PRINCIPAL, SUPERINTENDENT OR THE PRINCIPAL'S OR SUPER- INTENDENT'S DESIGNEE, TO NOTIFY PROMPTLY THE APPROPRIATE LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY WHEN SUCH PRINCIPAL, SUPERINTENDENT OR THE PRINCI- PAL'S OR SUPERINTENDENT'S DESIGNEE, BELIEVES THAT ANY HARASSMENT, BULLY- ING OR DISCRIMINATION CONSTITUTES CRIMINAL CONDUCT; J. INCLUDE APPROPRIATE REFERENCES TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT'S CODE OF CONDUCT ADOPTED PURSUANT TO SECTION TWENTY-EIGHT HUNDRED ONE OF THIS CHAPTER THAT ARE RELEVANT TO HARASSMENT, BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION; K. REQUIRE EACH SCHOOL, AT LEAST ONCE DURING EACH SCHOOL YEAR, TO PROVIDE ALL SCHOOL EMPLOYEES, STUDENTS AND PARENTS WITH A WRITTEN OR ELECTRONIC COPY OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT'S POLICIES CREATED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION, OR A PLAIN-LANGUAGE SUMMARY THEREOF, INCLUDING NOTIFICA- TION OF THE PROCESS BY WHICH STUDENTS, PARENTS AND SCHOOL EMPLOYEES MAY REPORT HARASSMENT, BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION. THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED TO REQUIRE ADDITIONAL DISTRIBUTION OF SUCH POLICIES AND
GUIDELINES IF THEY ARE OTHERWISE DISTRIBUTED TO SCHOOL EMPLOYEES, STUDENTS AND PARENTS; L. MAINTAIN CURRENT VERSIONS OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT'S POLICIES CREATED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION ON THE SCHOOL DISTRICT'S INTERNET WEBSITE, IF ONE EXISTS; 2. Guidelines to be used in school training programs to discourage the development of [discrimination or] harassment, BULLYING AND DISCRIMI- NATION, AND TO MAKE SCHOOL EMPLOYEES AWARE OF THE EFFECTS OF HARASSMENT, BULLYING, CYBERBULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION ON STUDENTS and that are designed: a. to raise the awareness and sensitivity of school employees to potential [discrimination or] harassment, BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION, and b. to enable employees to prevent and respond to [discrimination or] harassment, BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION; and 3. Guidelines relating to the development of nondiscriminatory instructional and counseling methods, and requiring that at least one staff member at every school be thoroughly trained to handle human relations in the areas of race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, and sex[.]; AND 4. GUIDELINES RELATING TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF MEASURED, BALANCED AND AGE-APPROPRIATE RESPONSES TO INSTANCES OF HARASSMENT, BULLYING OR DISCRIMINATION BY STUDENTS, WITH REMEDIES AND PROCEDURES FOLLOWING A PROGRESSIVE MODEL THAT MAKE APPROPRIATE USE OF INTERVENTION, DISCIPLINE AND EDUCATION, VARY IN METHOD ACCORDING TO THE NATURE OF THE BEHAVIOR, THE DEVELOPMENTAL AGE OF THE STUDENT AND THE STUDENT'S HISTORY OF PROB- LEM BEHAVIORS, AND ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE DISTRICT'S CODE OF CONDUCT; AND 5. TRAINING REQUIRED BY THIS SECTION SHALL ADDRESS THE SOCIAL PATTERNS OF HARASSMENT, BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION, AS DEFINED IN SECTION ELEVEN OF THIS ARTICLE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THOSE ACTS BASED ON A PERSON'S ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED RACE, COLOR, WEIGHT, NATIONAL ORIGIN, ETHNIC GROUP, RELIGION, RELIGIOUS PRACTICE, DISABILITY, SEXUAL ORIEN- TATION, GENDER OR SEX, THE IDENTIFICATION AND MITIGATION OF HARASSMENT, BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION, AND STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVELY ADDRESSING PROBLEMS OF EXCLUSION, BIAS AND AGGRESSION IN EDUCATIONAL SETTINGS. S 5. Section 14 of the education law, as added by chapter 482 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: S 14. Commissioner's responsibilities. The commissioner shall: 1. Provide direction, which may include development of model policies and, to the extent possible, direct services, to school districts related to preventing [discrimination and] harassment, BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION and to fostering an environment in every school where all children can learn free of manifestations of bias; 2. Provide grants, from funds appropriated for such purpose, to local school districts to assist them in implementing the guidelines set forth in this section; [and] 3. Promulgate regulations to assist school districts in implementing this article including, but not limited to, regulations to assist school districts in developing measured, balanced, and age-appropriate responses to violations of this policy, with remedies and procedures [focusing on] FOLLOWING A PROGRESSIVE MODEL THAT MAKE APPROPRIATE USE OF intervention, DISCIPLINE and education[.] AND PROVIDE GUIDANCE RELATED TO THE APPLICATION OF REGULATIONS; AND
4. PROVIDE GUIDANCE AND EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS RELATED TO BEST PRACTICES IN ADDRESSING CYBERBULLYING AND HELPING FAMI- LIES AND COMMUNITIES WORK COOPERATIVELY WITH SCHOOLS IN ADDRESSING CYBERBULLYING, WHETHER ON OR OFF SCHOOL PROPERTY OR AT OR AWAY FROM A SCHOOL FUNCTION. 5. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL PRESCRIBE REGULATIONS THAT SCHOOL PROFES- SIONALS APPLYING ON OR AFTER JULY FIRST, TWO THOUSAND THIRTEEN FOR A CERTIFICATE OR LICENSE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO A CERTIFICATE OR LICENSE VALID FOR SERVICE AS A CLASSROOM TEACHER, SCHOOL COUNSELOR, SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST, SCHOOL SOCIAL WORKER, SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR OR SUPERVISOR OR SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS SHALL, IN ADDITION TO ALL OTHER CERTIFICATION OR LICENSING REQUIREMENTS, HAVE COMPLETED TRAINING ON THE SOCIAL PATTERNS OF HARASSMENT, BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION, AS DEFINED IN SECTION ELEVEN OF THIS ARTICLE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THOSE ACTS BASED ON A PERSON'S ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED RACE, COLOR, WEIGHT, NATIONAL ORIGIN, ETHNIC GROUP, RELIGION, RELIGIOUS PRACTICE, DISABILITY, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER OR SEX, THE IDENTIFICATION AND MITIGATION OF HARASSMENT, BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION, AND STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVELY ADDRESSING PROBLEMS OF EXCLUSION, BIAS AND AGGRESSION IN EDUCATIONAL SETTINGS. S 6. Section 15 of the education law, as added by chapter 482 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: S 15. Reporting by commissioner. The commissioner shall create a procedure under which material incidents of [discrimination and] harass- ment, BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION on school grounds or at a school func- tion are reported to the department at least on an annual basis. Such procedure shall provide that such reports shall, wherever possible, also delineate the specific nature of such incidents of [discrimination or] harassment, BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION, provided that the commissioner may comply with the requirements of this section through use of the existing uniform violent incident reporting system. In addition the department may conduct research or undertake studies to determine compliance throughout the state with the provisions of this article. S 7. Section 16 of the education law, as added by chapter 482 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: S 16. Protection of people who report [discrimination or] harassment, BULLYING OR DISCRIMINATION. Any person having reasonable cause to suspect that a student has been subjected to [discrimination or] harass- ment, BULLYING OR DISCRIMINATION, by an employee or student, on school grounds or at a school function, who, acting reasonably and in good faith, [either] reports such information to school officials, to the commissioner[,] or to law enforcement authorities, ACTS IN COMPLIANCE WITH PARAGRAPH E OR I OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION THIRTEEN OF THIS ARTICLE, or otherwise initiates, testifies, participates or assists in any formal or informal proceedings under this article, shall have immu- nity from any civil liability that may arise from the making of such report or from initiating, testifying, participating or assisting in such formal or informal proceedings, and no school district or employee shall take, request or cause a retaliatory action against any such person who, acting reasonably and in good faith, either makes such a report or initiates, testifies, participates or assists in such formal or informal proceedings. S 8. Section 801-a of the education law, as amended by chapter 482 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: S 801-a. Instruction in civility, citizenship and character education. The regents shall ensure that the course of instruction in grades
kindergarten through twelve includes a component on civility, citizen- ship and character education. Such component shall instruct students on the principles of honesty, tolerance, personal responsibility, respect for others, WITH AN EMPHASIS ON DISCOURAGING ACTS OF HARASSMENT, BULLY- ING, DISCRIMINATION, observance of laws and rules, courtesy, dignity and other traits which will enhance the quality of their experiences in, and contributions to, the community. SUCH COMPONENT SHALL INCLUDE INSTRUC- TION OF SAFE, RESPONSIBLE USE OF THE INTERNET AND ELECTRONIC COMMUNI- CATIONS. The regents shall determine how to incorporate such component in existing curricula and the commissioner shall promulgate any regu- lations needed to carry out such determination of the regents. For the purposes of this section, "tolerance," "respect for others" and "digni- ty" shall include awareness and sensitivity to [discrimination or] harassment, BULLYING, DISCRIMINATION and civility in the relations of people of different races, weights, national origins, ethnic groups, religions, religious practices, mental or physical abilities, sexual orientations, genders, and sexes. S 9. This act shall take effect July 1, 2013; provided, however, that if chapter 482 of the laws of 2010 shall not have taken effect on or before such date then this act shall take effect on the same date and in the same manner as such chapter of the laws of 2010 takes effect.

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