Cuomo signs law on cyberbullying of students
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law Monday a bill that requires school districts to take action on cyberbullying that affects students in the classroom.
The bill, which amends the Dignity for All Students Act, requires schools to develop procedures to deal with cyberbullying even if it occurs off campus, as long as it affects learning.
The bill also requires the training of school employees.
Lisa Davis, executive director of the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association, said Hudson Valley school districts are reviewing the law and what it means for them.
The state Education Department plans to develop guidance on implementing the requirements by the time the law goes into effect on July 1, 2013.
State Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), who introduced his own legislation this year -- seeking criminal penalties for cyberbullying, -- believes the bill was a good first step in that it defines cyberbullying and engages schools.
"There were some school districts that were ignoring the problem entirely," Klein spokesman Eric Soufer said. "But we're still going to make that other push for criminalization next year."
Klein organized an online survey of about 10,000 New York students, the results of which were released last month. More than 75 percent of students polled said cyberbullying occurs all the time. In addition, 70 percent said cyberbullying should be illegal and 64 percent said schools should be required to help students.
"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," Cuomo said in a prepared statement.