Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I,REF-Glenville) and the parents of the late Jacobe Taras, a 13-year-old Ft. Edward boy who took his own life because of bullying at school, today announced a new online grassroots petition drive to harness the power of the people to urge the state Assembly to return to Albany this summer and pass legislation to require that schools notify parents when a child is being threatened by a bully – or is the bully.
“Jacobe’s Law” has passed the Senate two years in a row, and requires that school employees charged with receiving reports of harassment, bullying or discrimination contact the parents or guardians of the students involved – both the bullies and victims -- when an incident of bullying or harassment occurs.
After the Senate passed “Jacobe’s Law” a second time, Senator Tedisco and the Taras family worked with the bill’s Assembly sponsor, Assemblywoman Pat Fahy (D-Albany), to address any privacy concerns about children who are being bullied and haven’t come out to their parents regarding their sexual identity. Tedisco, Fahy and the Taras family came to a compromise and amended the bill, (S9074A/A8114E) to add a protection for that diverse population to address this issue. The Senate then passed the bill for a third time. At the last minute at the end of session, the leadership in the Assembly double-crossed the Taras family and held the bill after promising that it would come to the Assembly Floor for a vote. To sign and share the petition to pass “Jacobe’s Law” click here.
“The Assembly has an obligation for the safety of thousands of school children to return to the Capitol this summer and pass ‘Jacobe’s Law’ to ensure parents know if their child is being bullied or involved in an incident of bullying in school,” said Senator Tedisco. “Let’s not let another school year go by where children are being bullied and tormented like Jacobe was because parents, who are held to the highest level of responsibility for the best interests of their children, will not be informed to intervene and stop a tragedy from taking place.”
“Parents have a right to know if their child is being victimized by a bully or is bullying others so they can take the steps needed to help stop this from occurring. Despite what the leadership in the Assembly may hope, we are not going away and will continue to speak out in our son Jacobe’s memory to get ‘Jacobe’s Law’ passed so other families do not have to experience what we have gone through,” said Richard Taras, Jacobe Taras’s father.