School districts will be required to establish protocols to curb online bullying or harassment of students under legislation signed Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but "cyberbullying" won't constitute a specific criminal charge.
The measure, which takes effect next July 1, requires schools to promptly investigate reports of students bullied through emails, electronic messaging or social networking sites. Other steps include staff training, coordination with police when appropriate and telling the community about the policies.
"We must do all we can to ensure that every child in New York State feels safe in the classroom," Cuomo said.
The bill, passed last month in a political deal between the governor and legislative leaders, omitted a proposal by some lawmakers to make online bullying a specific crime. In a radio interview, Cuomo had said the state would have to look more closely at that issue, asking what should be done with an online bully who is only 14 or 15.