School District Alert: Governor Cuomo Signs Cyberbullying Law
On July 9th, 2012, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new cyberbullying measure that expands the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) and places additional responsibilities on teachers and school districts. The law expands the definition of harassment and bullying to include cyberbullying as well as actions that occur off school property that create or foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment.
This new law allows students and parents to make oral or written reports of cyber harassment, bullying, and discrimination directly to the school. Districts must then promptly investigate all of these reports. Specifically, teachers and other school employees who witness or learn of online harassment, bullying, and discrimination will be required to notify administration within one school day and must file a written report within an additional two school days. The law also requires districts to train teachers on identifying and mitigating cyberbullying incidents. Furthermore, districts must provide written or electronic notice of the policies created in compliance with this law, including the notification process by which students, parents, and employees may report cyber harassment, bullying, and discrimination.
The law will take effect on July 1, 2013. Therefore, districts must revise their current DASA policies, procedures, and guidelines during the upcoming school year in order to comply with these new requirements. We will continue to update you as new information, guidance, and regulations become available. If you have any questions regarding the cyberbullying law or your district’s requirements under it, please contact one of the attorneys in our Education Law Practice Group.