New York Assemblywoman Jane Corwin has announced that she has authored and will introduce legislation to create the crime of cyber-bullying in the state of New York. This follows no the heels of the suicide of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer after years of being bullied, including cyber-bullied.
Corwin stated that “Bullying is a long-standing problem among school-aged children in New York State, and throughout the nation. With the increasing accessibility of electronic means of communication, bullying has transformed from a predominantly school-based issue to a broader societal problem. Jamey’s story shocked our community – and other small communities across the nation – to its very core, and we cannot allow cyber-bullying to continue without penalty. We must take a firm stand against this destructive and devastating behavior.”
Roughly 28% of students between the ages of 12 and 18 have reported bullying; however, when it comes to cyber-bullying, that number is closer to 42% with 35% of students being threatened online.
According to WKBW “Specifically, the bill creates the crime of cyber-bullying as a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to one year imprisonment. Furthermore, the legislation defines cyber-bullying as any repeated acts of abusive behavior communicating or causing communication to be sent by mechanical or electronic means, including posting statements on the Internet, or sending messages through a computer network. Such abusive behavior includes messages that are taunting, threatening, intimidating, insulting, tormenting, humiliating, embarrassing or sexually explicit, as well as other forms of hate mail.”