Contact: Adam Joseph
September 7, 2011
State Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) and Senator Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. (D-Woodbridge) were welcomed today at Amity High School in Woodbridge by Dr. John Brady, Superintendent of the Amity Regional School District #5. The three officials held a press conference to highlight features of a new state law to combat bullying in schools and more specifically, cyberbullying.
The new law was enacted earlier this year and became effective July 1, in time for the start of the 2011-12 school year.
“When our bullying laws were last amended in 2008, no one could have foreseen the coming prevalence of Facebook, Twitter and other forms of electronic social media and communication, which now can provide a devastating forum for students to engage in bullying,” Senator Looney said. “Our school bullying laws have essentially been outflanked by the lightning quick evolution of technology and social media, and we now must adapt accordingly. I'm pleased that students across the state are starting this school year with these added protections.”
The lawmakers explained how the new state law expands the definition of school bullying and the situations where it can occur, and how it specifies that targeting a student based on actual or perceived “differentiating” characteristics, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, or physical appearance is bullying. It also labels actions that otherwise qualify as bullying taken through electronic communications or devices as “cyberbullying.”
“The advent of cyberbullying means abusive behavior is no longer confined to school boundaries or school hours—instead, victims’ lives can be altered literally overnight,” Senator Crisco said. “Cyberbullying can be and is often committed remotely and anonymously—we thought it was imperative to have this new law in place in time for the resumption of classes this week.”
“The new law provides more flexibility for school officials to investigate reports of bullying,” Senator Crisco added. “It also expands reporting requirements among all school employees, not just teachers and administrators, to report bullying incidents they see or that are reported to them to the principal or his or her designee.”
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Hartford, CT 06106-1591
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