Sunday, April 17, 2011

New law could help victims of cyberbullying - WTEN: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports - New law could help victims of cyberbullying - WTEN: Albany, New York News, Weather,

New law could help victims of cyberbullying Posted: Jul 22, 2010 3:49 AM EDT SCHODACK, N.Y. -- Leia Murphy says she very seriously contemplated suicide last year in 8th grade because of the constant harassment she had to endure online and at school. The Schodack girl and her family felt powerless with no concrete law on the books to stop cyberbullies. But now one Albany County legislator, is hoping to better protect victims like Leia, in the near future. "It got to the point where I was really about ready to kill myself," Murphy said. Leia Murphy, 14, felt so isolated and so distraught, that she truly believed she had no options left after so-called "friends" on Facebook bullied her and hacked into her account. They posted indecent things on her wall and circulated nude pictures at school they claimed were of her -- they weren't. There were even threats that she would be hurt, but police and school leaders could do little to help. "No where you go is safe, at home it's happening, school, no matter where you go there's nothing you can do and you can't stop it," she said. School leaders at Maple Hill Middle School tried to protect her, along with a friend, who were both being bullied, but they ended up having to be separated from the rest of their classmates, and the bullying continued. The police couldn't do much either since current bullying laws don't include provisions for online threats. Though a state law is being considered, it's held up for now. Albany County legislator Brian Scavo wants cyberbullies to be held accountable. "We need action now. There's been suicides, children are dying, children don't want to go to school because they're humiliated they're taunted," Scavo said. Scavo sponsored a county law that would make cyberbullying a misdemeanor. Offenders would have to pay a $1,000 fine and could face up to a year in jail. It gives Leia hope that others won't have to endure what she did. "I'm hoping this law will stop at least some people because it does need to get stopped," she said. Albany County Legislature Tackles Cyberbullies Share Tweet E-mail 0 Comments Print Enlarge image By Dave Lucas DONATE HERE Listen 3:12 Albany, NY – Cyberbullying is the repeated use of information technology to deliberately harass, threaten or intimidate others. The Albany County Legislature is taking a look at the issue when it meets tonight. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports. Albany County Legislator Brian Scavo is sponsoring legislation that would ban Cyberbullying -- he expects it will be the only law of its kind on the books in New York state and the toughest law in the nation to combat this newest form of harassment. Under Scavo's bill, violators face one year in jail or a one thousand dollar fine. Tonight the bill goes through commitee, with a vote expected in early August followed by a public hearing. Cyberbullying has been a long standing problem among school aged children in suburban Albany County, and has been linked to teen suicide and other social problems. In 2009, UAlbany student Denise Finkel tried to sue Facebook because four of her ex-high-school classmates maligned her on the social networking website. The case was dismissed because Facebook had immunity under the Communications Decency Act. Finkel lost her case against the classmates when a Long Island Judge ruled that no reasonable person could believe that the allegedly defamatory statements posted on Facebook were facts.Finkel was represented by Manhattan attorney Mark M. Altschul, who says he fears the judges' ruling sends the message that children or others can act without consequence. There's more on the Finkel case here. ShareThisShareThisShareThis
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