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Poloncarz signs cyberbullying law, despite reservations

Bullying leg.jpg
WBFO file photo
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Legislators Edward Rath (c.) and Raymond Walter (r.) were joined by Assemblywoman Jane Corwin in October in advocating for cyberbullying legislation

A local law legislating cyberbullying is now on the books in Erie County.  County Executive Mark Poloncarz signed the measure today after it gained passage in the legislature last month. 

The law makes cyberbullying against a minor or a student a misdemeanor crime punishable by as long as a year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000. 

But in signing the law, Poloncarz also expressed "serious doubts" about whether or not it is enforceable in its current form. 

He says in crafting the bill, lawmakers failed to consult with either the district attorney's office or judicial officials regarding the enforcement issue and, he says, it may be difficult to press charges and prove a cyberbullying case without an admission of guilt. 

Poloncarz says he hopes the law will serve as a deterrent, but he also fears it may give victims false hope. 

The democrat county executive is calling on the legislature to work with law enforcement, schools, and the courts to develop an enhanced version of the new law.

 

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