Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (Scarsdale, Eastchester, Tuckahoe, Bronxville, Pelham, Pelham Manor, and parts of New Rochelle and White Plains) has introduced legislation that would fight against bullying in schools.
Her communications director sent out a press release, which reads as follows:
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin announced today the introduction of a comprehensive bill in the Assembly that will combat bullying in schools. Dubbed the “Anti-Bullying Act,” the bill defines bullying for schools to use in their codes of conduct.
The bill requires that school administrators report instances of bullying. The bill also creates the crime of aggravated harassment of teachers and school personnel and requires that students are education about the effects of bullying.
“Kids do better in school when they don’t have to worry about being bullied,” said Assemblywoman Paulin, “Requiring that the every school specifically identify and prohibit bullying will make schools safer for our children,” she said.
Despite the tragic suicides of several young teenagers in the U.S., bullying continues to be ignored in some schools. Forty three states have already passed anti-bullying laws since 1999, according to Bully Police USA, an advocacy group that assigns a letter grade to each state based on the strength of their bullying laws. New York received a grade of “F” from the group.
Paulin’s legislation requires that the code of conduct in every school specifically identify and prohibit both conventional and cyber-bullying, which the U.S. Department of Justice reports is at an all time high. The department found that 43 percent of teenagers have been victims of cyber-bullying.
Assemblywoman Paulin’s bill defines bullying based on the effects on the student who is victimized. Whether the bullying act is in person or on the web, if it affects the student’s educational process, the school district is allowed to define that as bullying on school property. This will empower school officials to help fight cyber-bullying.
“This legislation is long overdue and not only gives school employees the responsibility to address bullying but also gives principals the authority to confront electronic expressions of bullying that were often difficult to address,” said Mike McDermott, Principal of Scarsdale Middle School, “The emphasis on pro-social skill development under the umbrella of character education is an important preventative approach that should reduce incidents of bullying,” he said.
Scott Baken, a Scarsdale community leader agreed that prevention is important in curbing bullying in schools.
“This preventive approach is essential for improving school safety, fostering maturity and mutual respect among adolescents, and enabling students to grow in their humanity as well as their intellect,” said who is on the board of directors for the Holocaust and Human Rights Education center,” said Baken, These educational priorities will empower students in taking responsibility for their actions, developing leadership skills, and making positive contributions to their schools and to society as a whole,” he said.
Dr. Marilyn C. Terranova, Superintendent of the Eastchester School District said Eastchester is also looking to step up their anti-bullying initiatives through preventative education. In October 2010, the school system will implement Rachel’s Challenge, a nationally recognized program that promotes kindness and compassion.
“Amy Paulin’s proposed bill will help us solve a problem prevalent in schools across the country– bullying. This includes cyber-bullying, which has become more widespread,” said Dr. Marilyn C. Terranova.