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New York Antibullying Law Goes to Governor

By sandymaple |

The Bully Police, a watch-dog organization devoted to advocating for bullied kids, gives the state of New York an ‘F’ for efforts to end bullying in schools.   But that’s about to change.  On Tuesday, the Dignity for All Students Act overwhelmingly passed in the Senate and is now headed to the governor’s desk.

Governor David A. Paterson has previously voiced his support for the measure, which will require school districts to report instances of bullying to the State Education Department.

If passed, the Act will apply to all New York schools and will give students legal protection from harassment and discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, weight, disability and gender identity.  The protection extends to other forms of abuse as well, but what it doesn’t do is address cyberbullying.

Robert O. Trestan, a lawyer for the Anti-Defamation League, is hopeful that “that the Department of Education includes a component on cyberbullying, because that’s the way that bullying in schools is manifesting itself.”

Assemblyman Daniel J. O’Donnell, who has been pushing the bill for past five years, says the intent of the law is to nip bullying in the bud before it can escalate into something larger.  He points to the recent murder of a transgendered California student as evidence that bullying can have tragic consequences.

To learn more about the Dignity for all Students Act, visit Empire State Pride Agenda.

Image: Eddie~S/Flickr

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