The Monroe County Legislature passed a bill Tuesday that would make cyber bullying in the County a crime.
Before the legislative session ends on Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York’s legislative leaders plan to approve a state-wide cyber bullying bill.
49 states have laws against bullying, 42 of which do include electronic harassment... But only 14 states have included "cyber bullying" in that clause which is a major loop hole for cyber bullies. With a new bill, the state is making strides to combat cyber bullying while Monroe County has made it clear that cyber bullying isn't a rite of passage...and the only place it's going to take you, is court.
The school yard bully of yesteryear was notorious for taking someone's lunch money. With recent incidents of bullying now being blamed for suicide, law makers nationwide have had to redefine their definition and penalty for bullying.
Monroe County legislature passed a bill Tuesday making cyber bullying a crime, punishable by a fine up to 1,000 dollars or one year in jail. Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks says it needs to be a state law.
"What we heard from everybody was this is a problem and we need help, we need government to support our efforts to combat this,” says Maggie Brooks, Monroe County Executive. “As long as we can put some teeth into our ability to fight this I think it's important, and criminal penalties are the way to go."
Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York’s legislative leaders say they have completed final negotiations on the state's first cyber bullying bill. The legislation contains a three-part agreement to deter occurrences of cyber bullying as well as highlight and educate the state on the matter. While this law will not carry a criminal penalty, it is the state's way of recognizing that cyber bullying is an existing problem and that harassment, insults, taunting and threats through social media as defined by the bill will not be tolerated.
"While we didn't increase any penalties there are already laws in place that if you hurt anybody or cause anybody harm you could be civilly and sometimes criminally liable so we really want to up the awareness. We don't want any tragedies with our young people or older people over cyber bullying or harassment," says Joe Robach, New York State Senator.
Harassing comments have even continued onto memorial pages for individuals who've taken their own lives due to cyber-bullying. As facebook considers the idea of introducing a "dislike" button on its pages, those who want to stop cyber bullying may be able to put it to good use.
Monroe County has made it a misdemeanor crime to threaten, harass, or put any person under the age of 18 in fear of personal injury through social media, the state's bill really puts the onus on schools, requiring school administrators to report first-time cases create educational curriculums, reach out to law enforcement quote "when appropriate," and designate a school official to investigate bullying allegations.