Battle against cyberbullying underway in local schools  

— Why do children do it? Keller says that reasons often include “because I can,” “because I feel powerful,” because they were bored or because they wanted to get some payback.

Other times students don’t have much of an explanation.

“Sometimes when we do these investigations and talk to these kids, and sometimes they get arrested for it, they in their minds didn’t see that anything was wrong,” Keller said. “They didn’t understand the consequences that because they didn’t do it in person in their minds they don’t feel there was a victim. The reality is when they post things online everybody gets to see it.”

But more has been done lately to curb the problem. The New York State Dignity for all Students Act will go into effect July 1, 2012.

“The dignity act takes a major step in creating more nurturing environments in all our schools,” said a fact sheet from the New York Center for School Safety.

The act provides for the development of guidelines for school training programs to discourage discrimination and harassment. These programs will raise awareness of the school personnel to the issues and enable them to prevent and respond to them. The dignity act also requires at least one employee in the school to be trained in human relation issues and that incidents be reported to the New York State Education Department at least once a year.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” said State Sen. David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Orange) “We’ve got to make sure when our students are being educated that it’s done in a safe place.”

At 30, Carlucci is the youngest member of the state senate. He graduated from high school in 1999.

“I never had a cell phone in high school, let alone elementary school, and today you see kids who have access to this technology,” he said. “It’s a blessing and at the same time it’s a curse.”

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