Cyber bullying law: Police don’t receive many complaints

by Carol Thompson

As New York State lawmakers discuss legislation that would crack down on cyber bullying in schools and through social media, local law-enforcement agencies said cyber bullying is not something they hear of too often.

“No, I don’t get a lot,” Oswego County Sheriff Reuel “Moe” Todd said when asked if he his department has received many complaints. “Once in a while, but not very often. In-school bullying is more of a problem.”

Lt. Bill Clark of the Fulton Police Department said he could not recall any complaints that come to mind.

“Nothing as far as bullying,” he said, noting that he sees the complaints that come through the department.

State lawmakers are attempting to crack down on threatening, taunting or insulting e-mails, instant messages, and postings to social media including Facebook.

The proposed Senate bill states, “In the wake of a growing epidemic of adolescent suicide caused by cyber bullying, which has become a problem nationwide, one thing is clear in our society today; newer and more insidious threats exist against our children both in school and at home. It is essential that we act together to limit their destructive power.”

It continues, “The dangers of bullying to our kids in their schools and in the online social networks present an unprecedented challenge to their safety. Our ability to protect them through the law has not kept pace with the speed of our technological advancement.”

The proposed law would amend the penal law in relation to establishing the offenses of cyber assault in the first degree, cyber assault in the second degree, cyber impersonation in the first degree and cyber impersonation in the second degree.

One problem with cyber laws, Lt. Clark acknowledged, is actually proving who used the computer or telephone.

Lt. Charlie Searor of the Oswego City Police Department said he has not seen many complaints in regard to cyber bullying.

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