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3/16/2023 Rep. O’Brien introduces parent accountability for cyberbullying bill
Also introduced Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act
STATE HOUSE – Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) has introduced legislation (2023-H 5698) that will hold parents civilly accountable for their children’s cyberbullying.
The legislation would allow for parents and guardians to be held civilly liable for demonstrating willful or wanton disregard for the parent's duty to supervise their child who has committed the offense of cyberstalking or cyberharassment.

“With rates of teen suicide and suicide attempts skyrocketing, all too often, cyberbullying is the cause of these tragic outcomes.  If death or serious mental or physical harm results from a parent or guardian being so willingly neglectful of their parental duties that their children are torturing another child through the phone or computer, then these individuals must be held accountable,” said Representative O’Brien.
Representative O’Brien has also introduced the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act (2023-H 5499) which would strengthen protections for students in schools who are victims of bullying.  It would require more enhanced teacher and administrator training to better understand and combat the effects of bullying.  It would also provide for collaboration between the Department of Education, the Attorney General and State Police to establish strict policies and procedures on how to handle a reported situation of bullying.
“These two bills are my attempt to help and support the victims of bullying because frankly, it is obvious that the status quo is not helping or protecting victims of bullying.  Social media has made it so victims of bullying are no longer even safe in their homes and something needs to change before more preventable tragedies occur due to bullying,” concluded Representative O’Brien.
The first bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee and the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act was referred to the House Education Committee.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903