Governor signs anti-bullying law protecting public schoolchildren

Jul 26, 2019

New York State is widening its anti-discrimination laws to apply to public school children. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the measure Thursday.

"Restoring the Division's jurisdiction over public schools ensures that all students are protected against bullying and discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law," said Division of Human Rights Commissioner Angela Fernandez. "As New York continues to lead the way in establishing equal rights for all, the Division of Human Rights will vigorously enforce this restoration of the law."

Public school students had been exempted from the law under a 2012 court decision. The new rules, approved by lawmakers earlier this year, would allow the state's Division of Human Rights to investigate allegations of bullying, harassment or other forms of discrimination.

The anti-bias law is intended to prevent discrimination based on factors such as race, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.

"No individual, especially our young people, should face discrimination in New York," said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. "Schools should be a safe space where students go to learn and prepare for the future, and we will not tolerate bullying or harassment. This legislation will extend anti-discrimination protections to public schools across the state to ensure everyone has access to a high-quality education and an inclusive learning environment."