East Meadow, NY (Vocus) October 26, 2010
As bullying cases make headlines across the country, Long Island personal injury lawyer Neal Goldstein, a senior partner at Goldstein and Bashner, warns that local cases of bullying are on the rise, both in the schools and through social networking sites such as Facebook, Formspring, and MySpace. He is urging parents to arm themselves with information and take necessary steps to legally protect their children’s rights.
“With social networking sites only getting more popular, the problems of bullying have now been brought from the school into the home. With no safe haven, even in a child’s own room, it is more important than ever for parents to stay aware of what is going on with their children and take measures to protect them,” said Goldstein.
To help parents, Goldstein’s firm has published a free legal guide that presents a clear and easy-to-follow eight-step approach to putting an end to bullying and ensuring legal protection for their children.
Frequent headlines of bullying attest to just how severe the problem has become, both on Long Island and around the country. Last year, West Islip teen Alexis Pilkington killed herself possibly due to bullying incidents at school as well as harassing messages left on her Facebook and Formspring pages. The attacks continued after her death, with bullies leaving malicious messages on a Facebook memorial page set up for her by friends and family.
Recently in Hicksville, a 14-year-old boy was beaten up on his school bus by three boys who thought he was gay. Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi jumped from the George Washington Bridge on September 27 after his college roommate and another student allegedly streamed a video on the Internet of Clementi having sex with another male student. At least four other teenagers across the country have committed suicide since July after being specifically targeted by anti-gay bullying.
On September 8, New York Governor David Paterson signed into law the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), which requires all New York State school districts to adopt stricter anti-harassment policies, train school employees about harassment and discrimination, and designate at least one employee per building to be trained in counseling methods for dealing with bullying.
“The Dignity for All Students Act is a positive step in the right direction and forces schools to address the issue of bullying and make sure policies are in place. It historically provides special protection to those groups that are most vulnerable to bullying, including those who are bullied based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and body weight. These are groups frequently targeted by bullies but have not previously been afforded special protection in the schools,” said Goldstein.
“It is important for parents to stay attuned to what is going on with their kids and be aware of any changes in their social behavior. If a parent thinks their child is involved in a bullying situation, there are several excellent local organizations on Long Island that offer free support, counseling, information, and referrals.”
Mr. Goldstein’s East Meadow firm, which has seen a recent increase in calls about bullying, has been posting informative articles on their website and is offering free information and consultations to anyone with any questions or concerns about bullying.