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Anti-Cyber Bullying Legislation expected to be voted on next week

By GARY LIBERATORE

The legislative session in Albany ends next Thursday, so next Monday through Thursday are expected to be very busy days for state legislators as they prepare to vote on a number of legislative measures.

One of those measures is the Anti-Cyber Bullying Legislation designed to prevent cyber-bullying in schools across the state, but it may be voted on without a big part of the original legislation.

The legislation contains three main points - to increase the public education of cyber bullying, to standardize what cyber-bullying is and how students should be disciplined within their school district, and finally, to criminally punish those students who cyber-bully another student.

Senator Joe Griffo of Rome says unfortunately, some kids are using technology to discredit fellow students.

"Each and every day, we see ugly examples of things taking place, particularly with new technology," Senator Griffo said. "And as a result of that, not only are people hurt emotionally, but people are hurt physically. It's unacceptable. We've seen suicides as a result of intense bullying over the internet."

Griffo says the parents of a 14 year old Buffalo boy who committed suicide after being bullied online, told him and other legislators that they would like cyber-bullying to become an actual crime, not just a cause for a suspension.

"Many of the families have come to Albany to try to lobby and to try to help us make an educated decision when we look at legislation like this and the impact it will have on communities and individuals," Griffo said.

Griffo says despite that, the criminal punishment aspect of the Anti-Cyber Bullying Legislation is being taken out.

"We feel there are three ways to do this," he said. "Public education, through a standardization of protocols in all of the schools and then finally punishment, but I think in the end, we may not get to the punishment, because the Governor doesn't agree. So this may be the first step in a series of steps that we need to continue to take in order to address this serious issue."

Griffo says he, along with other state senators in favor of criminal punishment for cyber bullying will continue to bring the topic up, and hope this part of the legislation can be voted on in the future.

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