County launches anti-bullying website

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From left, County Executive Laura Curran, middle schooler Shayna Sakhai who raised $5,000 to support victims of bullying, and Legislator Josh Lafazan. (Photo courtesy of the Office of the Nassau County Executive)

Nassau County launched NassauStopBullying.org, its new bullying prevention website, Wednesday after the resource was signed into law in July.

The website includes pages for understanding and identifying types of bullying, including cyberbullying, and contact information for local and national organizations that support victims of bullying.

In addition to the website, each Nassau County school district will select a Dignity for All Students Act coordinator for anti-bullying initiatives.

Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan held a press conference at Jericho High School to celebrate the launch, joined by colleagues, the police commissioner and a middle schooler who raised $5,000 for the cause.

Lafazan, 24, is the county’s youngest legislator.

“One of the benefits of having a millennial as a colleague now on the legislature is that he forces us in a great way to be able to address some of the pertinent issues,” said Legislator Arnold Drucker.

The Long Island Coalition Against Bullying, led by Joseph Salamone, proposed the original idea for the website to Lafazan.

The coalition has multiple initiatives including subsidized therapy for bullying victims and support for schools to develop anti-bullying programs and assemblies.

Salamone thought that a digital resource would be helpful for young people hesitant to come forward with their struggles.

“For many of us who grew up experiencing bullying, myself included, there were few resources about how to best support the child and address the bullying behavior,” he said.

Shayna Sakhai, 12, decided to raise money for the organization as a “mitzvah” project while she prepares for her upcoming bat mitzvah.

“As a middle school student, I see kids do or say hurtful things to others,” she said at the press conference.

Sakhai sold bracelets she created with the inscription “Be kind. Be positive. Be confident. Be you.” She also held a fundraising event at the Bounce! trampoline center in Syosset and plans to donate 10 percent of her bat mitzvah gift money to the coalition.

“As long as we have kids like her working for us to help us, we’re going to be just fine in this county,” said Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.

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