New York State (NYS) Anti-Bullying Laws

Instructor: Vericia Miller
In this lesson, you will learn more about the act of bullying itself, more specifically, the New York State law designed to address the problem. Examples will also be provided to better understand why these laws are needed and the horrible impact bullying has on the individuals who've experienced it.

Bullying in a Nutshell

The government site stopbullying.gov defines bullying as the unwanted aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. To further simplify this definition, bullying is an aggressive physical, verbal or emotional act used to intimidate its victims. For anyone who has ever experienced bullying, it is a very scary, painful and shameful thing to deal with. As if children and teens do not have enough to worry about with insecurities, grades, college, boyfriends/girlfriends, etc., bullying can be overwhelming. We have seen countless young people end their lives due to constant bullying that was not addressed.

It is important to note that bullying can occur anywhere. It can happen at school, in the workplace, outside of school, etc. Bullying can also occur with people of various age groups. People are bullied in elementary school, high school, and yes, it can even happen in college. Because there are different forms of bullying and the word bullying itself is quite broad, please remember that bullying is a widespread problem crossing age, gender, and racial lines.

Types of Bullying

There are three different types of bullying: Verbal, physical and social (also known as relational). Verbal bullying is picking on someone by name calling, teasing, or making threats. This can be done when the victim is alone or in front of a crowd; either way, it's hurtful. Physical bullying involves the bully having physical contact with the victim. The victim is either being hit, kicked, punched or subject to some other type of physical attack.

And then there's social bullying; this is where victims intentionally and maliciously exclude or isolate the victim from a social situation/circle. For example, if you tell a fellow student she is not allowed to sit at the table with you and your friends because she's ugly, you are isolating her from your circle, and indirectly controlling how your peers treat her. Because you have excluded her, your friend's are likely to do the same. Social bullying has to do with purposefully attempting to hurt someone through dismissive behavior, but also by trying to ruin the victim's reputation. Cyberbullying is a form of social bullying; rumor spreading and attempting to ruin someone's reputation is a big part of it.

In the picture below you see a young girl with her head tucked into her arms. Surrounding the girl are a bunch of words that detail what bullying is, what it feels like, and some of the names victims of bullies are often called.

bullying

Impact of Bullying

There has been much research about the short and long-term affects of bullying on an individual. It can trigger depressive disorders, suicidal ideation, self-mutilation, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. There have been many instances of young people who have taken their lives due to being bullied.

Recently a child took his own life in New York. It happened in 2016, and the victim's name was Danny Fitzpatrick. He attended a private Catholic school in Brooklyn where he was teased every day. According to Fitzpatrick's mother, the bullies often followed him home from school, teasing him frequently, and provoking him to fight. Ms. Fitzpatrick said that her son wasn't a fighter; he only wanted friends. In a suicide letter Fitzpatrick wrote, he in part blamed the staff at his school for never doing anything about the problem, even though he reached out to them for help. Fitzpatrick was only in the 8th grade when one of his sisters found him hanging at home. Fitzpatrick is just one of many incidents of suicide as the result of bullying.

New York State Anti-Bullying Law

The Dignity for All Students Act was passed in 2010 as a response to widespread awareness of bullying in schools. This state law initially covered all public elementary and high schools in the state of New York but now includes private schools as well.

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