After Amanda Cummings suicide, new bill poised to curb cyberbullying
One New York City lawmaker is hoping his bill could stem the kind of bullying family members say led to Staten Island teen Amanda Cummings’ suicide last week.
Cummings, 15, stepped in front of a city bus on Dec. 27 and died of her injuries last Monday. Her family told Metro she had been targeted by classmates who bullied and threatened her on Facebook and via text messages.
Bronx State Senator Jeffrey Klein introduced a bill yesterday that would create stricter penalties for bullying online. His bill would elevate cyberbullying to third-degree stalking, a misdemeanor crime. It would also add electronic communication as a way to commit aggravated harassment, also a misdemeanor.
Both crimes are punishable by up to one year in jail and can be raised to felony status if they violate hate crime statutes.
“Our laws are not keeping pace with technology, and we are paying a human price for it,” Klein said yesterday.
Klein said he was inspired to craft the legislation in September, when Buffalo teen Jamey Rodemeyer, 14, killed himself after he was reportedly targeted by cyberbullies.
“We really don’t want another tragedy,” Klein’s spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, said of Cummings.
Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.