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NYS Sexting and Cyberbullying Prevention Bill Goes To Governor Cuomo

By Dave Lucas


Albany, NY – New York Lawmakers have passed a bill that provides youth charged with "cyberbullying" or "sexting" an option other than a permanent criminal record. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Recent headlines have highlighted the consequences of the growing epidemics of cyberbullying and sexting among youth in our society. The New York State Assembly and Senate have passed legislation that requires the development of an educational program about the numerous perils of sexting and cyberbullying. The bill, entitled the "Cyber-Crime Youth Rescue Act," calls for the creation of a "diversion" program offering an option other than a permanent criminal record for juveniles deemed eligible by a court.

A 16-year-old Cohoes High School student was arrested this month for harassing and cyber-bullying fellow students on a Facebook page titled "Cohoes Flame." The initial complaint had been filed more than six months earlier by a counselor at the school under a new Albany County cyberbullying law sponsored by Legislator Brian Scavo, who notes the County law covers all forms of electronic harassment.

The bill now goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The annual Civility in America poll released this week by Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate indicates cyber bullying involving online harassment of children or teens is of great concern to all Americans.

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans 69% report that cyber bullying is getting worse. An equally large number 72% worry about children being cyber bullied. These high figures underscore parental concern about online incivility and youth. The majority of Americans 78% believe that civility training should be offered in our nation's schools.

Leslie Gaines-Ross, Weber Shandwick's chief reputation strategist and online reputation expert, remarked: "Incivility at school and cyber bullying is fast becoming commonplace and we do not want to become immune to it. The research underscores the need for a more positive and responsible climate for our nation's youth."