After the tragic suicide of 15 year old Amanda Cummings last week, one New York State lawmaker is planning on attacking cyberbullying. Senator Jeffrey D. Klein has introduced a bill to make the penalties for cyberbullying much stronger.
In a written statement, Klein’s office said,
“Tragically, we’re seeing modern technology used as a weapon and our laws have not kept pace with that technology. This legislation will give prosecutors the tools they need to treat cyberbullying as the crime it is and also send a message that this type of reckless and potentially deadly behavior will not be tolerated.”
Among other things, it would fully address the idea of using electronic communication to harass or stalk someone. The bill would make the following changes to current law,
- Include bullying of a youth by electronic communications a crime of Third Degree Stalking
- Include electronic communications as a form of Aggravated Harassment.
It would also provide hate crime status to certain types of cyberbullying.
According to the Huffington Post, Senator Diane Savino said,
“This is a new world where bullying, once confined to the school yard, now follows its victims wherever the Internet goes. Before there is another tragedy, we need to treat cyberbullying as the crime that it is.”
Amanda Cummings killed herself by jumping in front of a bus two days before Christmas. It came out after she was in the hospital that there were a group of kids at school who bullied her incessantly. They stole her stuff and taunted her all the time, even online, even while she lay dying.
Shortly after she dies, her mother went on her Facebook page and wrote,
“This is to all you evil son of a bitches that picked on, talked about and threatened my baby. I HOPE YOU DIE and I HOPE YOU SUFFER.”
What do you think of the New York Cyberbullying law?