Establishing a Cyberbullying Task Force — Update on New York State Legislation

Updated on June 15, 2018

Many of you have asked about the status of advocating for cyberbullying prevention legislation in New York. While some states recently have added or amended legislation to protect youth against cyberbullying, New York State still does not have laws which define or address cyberbullying.

After New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky introduced a bill in the Senate on February 6, 2018, Assemblymember Didi Barrett sponsored a version in the Assembly. The latter is now co-sponsored by David Buchwald, Carmen De La Rosa, Christine Pellegrino, and Rebecca Seawright.

The bills would establish a task force to explore the effects of cyberbullying in New York and potential measures to address such effects.

The task force would conduct a comprehensive study on the effects of, and potential methods to address cyberbullying, including processes for school districts to develop cyberbullying prevention policies; procedures for school districts to assist individuals in reporting cyberbullying; procedures for school districts to implement to ensure prompt and thorough investigations; identifying existing staff to assist school districts in responding to incidents, such as counselor services, support services, or intervention services; a suggested statement about prohibiting reprisals or retaliation against any person who reports cyberbullying and the consequences for a person who engages in reprisal or retaliation; how often a school district should conduct a reevaluation and review of its cyberbullying policy; methods school districts can use, such as grants, to fund programs regarding cyberbullying; identifying the most common victims of cyberbullying by age, ethnicity, religion, gender, or any other identifying characteristic the members of the task force deem relevant; determining the most common mediums used in cases of cyberbullying, including but not limited to, text messages, websites, and social media; identifying the social and psychological effects of cyberbullying on individuals; reviewing measures other states or legislative bodies have taken to address cyberbullying; drafting model regulations that may be promulgated by this state to address cyberbullying; and drafting model policies that may be implemented by a school district to address cyberbullying. Read more about Senate Bill S7678.

Establishing a cyberbullying task force is a great first step to address and prevent cyberbullying, and I applaud the legislators who already are supporting the bills.

The last day of the 2018 session for the New York State Legislature is June 20. The bill is not currently scheduled to be discussed, or brought to a vote in the Senate or Assembly. If it is not discussed and passed by June 20, it will be held till the next session in 2019.

If you reside in New York, please reach out to your senator and assemblymember to encourage support of this important legislation to help create a safer cyber-world for our youth.

Find your New York State senator.

Find your New York State assemblymember.

If your state or country doesn’t have legislation to address cyberbullying, reach out to your elected officials and explain why this is an important issue to you and how legislation can help address it.