Yonkers Council Members Call on State to Pass Dignity Act to Stop Bullying Crisis
As incidences of cyberbullying rise to alarming levels among school children, the Yonkers City Council unanimously passed legislation calling on state leaders to immediately pass the Senate Dignity for All Students Act. Senate Bill S.7600 would amend the state’s Education Law by making it a misdemeanor to engage in repeated acts of cyberbullying and impose hefty fines of up to $1,000 or up to one year in prison for those found guilty of the crime.
Beyond passage of the Senate bill, the Council resolution also calls on the Governor to enact the bill in an effort to “provide material protection for the health, safety, and welfare of children in the State of New York”.
Victims of cyberbullying can experience a wide range of negative effects, including mental health problems, poor academic performance, wanting to drop out of school, and suicidal ideation.
The Dignity Act prohibits discrimination “against any student on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex by school employees or students on school property or at a school. function”.
Majority Leader and Education Committee Chair Tasha Diaz (District 3) said, “It’s hard enough being a kid today. Our children deserve the opportunity to learn and become young adults without having to repeatedly worry about being attacked, publicly humiliated, and harassed by bullies looking to bring down their self-esteem, and sometimes even worse. As parents and elected leaders, we must act to protect school-age children so that they can develop and live up to their potential without fear of facing their bullies alone and without support and protection.”
For his part, Minority Leader Mike Breen of District 5 explained that “between social media and our seemingly ubiquitous cell phones, cyberbullying is particularly damaging to school-age children because abuse can occur 24 hours a day. a day, 7 days a week and follows victims wherever they are.”
“No child should feel isolated and helpless in the face of the threat of cyberbullying. The Dignity Law will make it clear that we stand with victims and hold criminals accountable for their actions. Beyond strengthening laws to help eradicate cyberbullying, social media companies also have a responsibility to monitor and remove cruel and hateful language directed at children from their platforms,” concluded Councilwoman Shanae Williams of the District. 1.
- THE DATA
Recent studies have shown that people who have experienced cyberbullying have doubled from 18% to 37% between 2007 and 2019.
Reports have also revealed that almost 43% of children have been bullied online and about 25% have experienced it more than once.
Posted on October 27, 2022