Legislator Ken Jenkins, D-Yonkers, has reintroduced legislation first put forward in 2010 to outlaw cyberbullying of children and college students in Westchester.
The legislation would also create a hotline run by the county Human Rights Commission and mandate a public education campaign. It would make cyberbullying a misdemeanor with penalties of up to a year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
“The ubiquitous nature of today’s technology now allows for continuous harassment, and considerably diminished safe havens,” the legislation says.
In the past, some legislators have argued the law is unnecessary because the behavior is covered under existing law.
But Jenkins said the county should have a policy and process in place that will allow the Human Rights Commission to work with school districts to tackle the problem locally, not just through enforcement but also prevention.
“Clearly cyberbullying hasn’t gone away,” he said.
Jenkins said the death of Tyler Clementi, the student from Rutgers who jumped off the George Washington Bridge in 2010 after his roommate posted a video of him online, reinforced the need for the law.