Cracking Down on Bullies in New York State

September 26, 2011 Updated Sep 27, 2011 at 8:54 AM EDT

By John Borsa

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September 26, 2011 Updated Sep 27, 2011 at 8:54 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - After so many suicides linked to online bullying, lawmakers are proposing new laws, including one that would put bullies behind bars if their taunts lead to a student taking their own life.

State Senator Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx says he is sick of it and believes if bullies knew they could serve 15 years in prison, maybe the problem would go away.

"Do something about your children, control your children, otherwise they're going to be punished under very tough New York statute," said Klein.

Some believe Klein's proposal is too harsh.

Other lawmakers think current laws are not harsh enough.

"So for the people that say this is a right of passage - it went on 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago - it's still wrong. For whatever reason people, kids bully other kids. It's wrong and we need to stop the behavior," said State Senator Patrick Gallivan.

Gallivan said school districts should have to follow mandatory reporting requirements for bullying, just like they must when students are suspected of being sexually abused.