After a recent survey found more than two-thirds of New York primary school students have either witnessed cyber bullying or have been victims themselves, bills taking action against cyber bullying have since passed in both the State Assembly and Senate. The bills only now require Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature in order to become law.

Any person who knowingly cyber bullies a minor, anyone under the age of 18, under the Senate bill would be guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor and faces up to $1,000 in fines and a year in prison. The legislation, passed June 20, defines cyber bullying as “engaging in acts of abusive behavior over a period of time by communication sent by mechanical or electronic means, posting statements on the Internet, or through a computer network.”

Equipping school districts with tools is the focus of the Assembly bill, which includes no criminal charges for cyber bullies. Tools include enabling students to report harassment and bullying, making a specific school employee in charge of receiving and dealing with such reports, and investigating any reports of harassment.

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