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New York Antibullying Bill Pending One Signature to Become Law


There’s one (or more) in every school. I’m talking about the mean girls and the bullies. Some might say that dealing with their wrath is a rite of passage. But really, there comes a time when enough is enough, especially when bullying can lead to serious consequences like suicide.
In the near future, bullying could be one less thing students have to worry about in New York public schools. Last month, the state Senate passed the Dignity for All Students Act. Now, the only thing needed for this bill to become law is Governor Paterson’s signature. If the bill passes, New York will be the 43rd state to adopt such a law.
The bill prohibits any type of student harassment based on race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and gender on public school property. A budget has been allotted for teacher training programs on how to identify and address bullying, and any incident of bullying must be reported to the New York State Education Department.
While this bill is a good starting point, it is not without loopholes. The bill fails to cover bullying outside of school property, cyber-bullying, and it does not apply to private schools.
If signed by Governor Paterson, the law would take effect on July 1, 2012.