Owen Johnson: We must stop cyber bullying
Posted in the West Islip Forum
#1 Jun 2, 2010
I recently hosted a cyberbullying roundtable at the Bay Shore-Brightwaters Public Library. I invited and joined with law enforcement officials, school superintendents and children psychologists for this roundtable.
We had one special guest at our roundtable — Mary Kate Bell, who came with her family. Mary Kate was repeatedly cyberbullied and beaten so badly by a classmate that she had to have reconstructive surgery on her face. It was critical for our roundtable of experts to be able to hear such a personal story such as Mary Kate's. I would like to commend her and her family for coming forward.
Statistics show that efforts are working in states where bullying prevention is taught in schools. According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center, bullying can be reduced by up to 50 percent when there is a school-wide commitment to preventative and educational programs aimed at raising awareness, increasing teacher and parent involvement, forming clear rules and strong social norms against bullying and providing support and protection for students.
The United State Department of Justice reports that cyberbullying, bullying through the means of any electronic device, is at an all-time high. Forty-three percent of teenagers reported being victims of cyberbullying. Nine in 10 teens, or 92 percent, reported knowing their bully; however, only 10 percent of those cyberbullying victims told their parents. Cyberbullying often involves vicious anonymous taunts on social networking sites such as Facebook.
The personal story that we heard the Bell family tell us was real and emotional and it helped our roundtable formulate the discussion of where we go from here.
My Senate Republican colleagues and I, have introduced an Anti-Bullying Plan for New York. The Anti-Bullying Plan consists of three bills (S. 1253-A, Saland; S. 7158, Hannon; S. 298, Little) that if passed would:
■Require school districts to include methods for discouraging acts of bullying and cyberbullying within the required instruction in civility, citizenship, and character education;
■Define bullying and cyberbullying and add these acts to the list of incidents for which disciplinary measures must be taken pursuant to the school district's code of conduct;
■Require all school employees to report incidents of bullying and cyberbulling;
■Create the crime of Aggravated Harassment of Teachers and School Personnel;
■Establish a state hotline for individuals to report instances of bullying, cyberbullying and hazing;
■Elevate the penalties associated with the crimes of hazing, particularly in cases where a person is injured or dies.
#2 Jun 2, 2010
Pardon me for pointing out the truth, but this girl is anything but a victim! In fact, I would wager that her own victims must be so confused to see how this girl is being paraded out like some kind of innocent target of bullying, be it cyber or otherwise.I feel bad for them. The wrong message is being sent here! I can't imagine growing up in this confusing world today of wrong is right and right is wrong, good is bad and bad is good! How do these teenagers today sort through so much manipulation? Upside down! Really upside down! I'm disgusted! Then again nothing shocks me anymore, nothing!
#3 Jun 2, 2010
The story is not being portrayed correctly. The senator(s) should vett their "victims" before they parade them around, it might come back to bite them. As well much of what is contained in this bill is ALL READY IN PLACE AND REQUIRED BY THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT FOR ALL SCHOOL DISTRICTS. Im sorry, but all of this sudden interst in the problem are the seantors way of trying to deflect the dysfunction going on right now in Albany.
#4 Jun 3, 2010
how could this girls parents allow this charade to continue? Don't they know what they are doing to their daughter?
#5 Mar 13, 2011
Are parents aware of this site?
Very important to read, especially in NY where many parents are executives in high profile companies and could be easily victimized (or have their children victimized).
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