PMNY Parenting Issues Examiner Ross Ellis

Bullying is a problem that affects millions of students of all races and classes. 1 out of 4 kids is bullied and 42% of kids have been bullied while online. Child and teen Bullying and Cyberbullying are at an all-time high. Some kids are so tormented that suicide has become an alternative for them. It has everyone worried. Not just the kids on its receiving end, but the parents, teachers and others who may not understand how extreme bullying can get.

New York does not have anti-bullying legislation – but maybe they will as a last hurrah for Governor David Paterson.

A day after the Daily News wrote about a teen being routinely harassed at his school, Governor Paterson announced he had submitted a bill to assist kids in trouble. Perhaps he wasn’t aware of all of the other kids in New York who have been harassed at school since he’s been in office … but we’re glad he’s finally taking notice.

The legislation which is way overdue, would require every school to post the state’s school violence hotline so that students could have quick access to services.

The City Education Department launched a campaign against bullying this year with the City Council, and agency officials said they are at work on the case of the bullied victim reported in the Daily News.
It’s wonderful that the City Council is helping 14-year-old Kimquan Green from the Bronx. We are thrilled to see his torment come to an end.

But where was the help last February for 5-year-old Jazmin Loving, a student at Public School 161 in Crown Heights who was tormented by her classmates, beaten and had her hair cut off by her classroom bullies? This was also reported by the Daily News, LXTV and other media outlets.

According to news sources, the governor said his bill also focuses on ensuring that schools are required to follow the state’s human rights laws against discrimination, saying “We have a responsibility to provide the highest level of protection and care to the children of New York State and this legislation would help do just that.”

Hotlines are a good start. And we are delighted to see that child victims are finally getting services to end their pain — yet more is needed.

We applaud Governor Paterson’s efforts and those of the City Education Department and City Council whose assistance and legislation will assist kids in trouble. However, what is critically needed is a bill like the landmark anti-bullying legislation of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

It is our hope that every child in New York and across the country will be safe from violence in school, on playgrounds, online and in their communities.