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Chappaqua School Board Worries About 'Overreaching' Cyber Bullying Bill

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - The Chappaqua school board officially put its state-mandated "bullying policy" into effect Tuesday night but is worried that Albany may have thrown a monkey wrench into it before the ink has a chance to dry.

Board of Education President Alyson Kiesel said Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing an anti-cyber bullying bill that would require schools to develop proper protocol in dealing with email, texting or online harassment.

"It really takes our role way outside the boundaries of the school," said Kiesel, who called the policy "overreaching."

The board was previously concerned about the reach of the initial state-mandated policy, called the Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Policy, believing it would be difficult to regulate any incidents that occur outside school grounds.

Cuomo's new cyber-bullying policy would also require school district's to develop pre-emptive measures to prevent recurrences and also designate an official to handle investigations.

"This is saying it does take a village to raise a child, but it takes it to the nth degree where the parent doesn't even have the final say," said school board member Karen Visser. 

Schools Superintendent Lyn McKay said the policies are a result of an increasing technological world that is extending the boundaries of school, as students can now be reached, and harrassed, at any time during the day.

"When students are doing things on other times it starts to have a 24/7 feel to it," McKay said.

The legislation,, which can be found on the governor's website, said most cyber bullying originates off-campus, but it "nonetheless affects the school environment and disrupts the educational process, impeding the ability of students to learn and too often causing devastating effects on students' health and well-being."

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