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Boy's Suicide Inspires New Anti-Bullying law, But Not All Parents Are Happy About It

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Times Union/NBC News

A bill in New York state is attracting attention nationwide, as parents pick sides in a heated debate about bullying.

The question at the heart of the case is whether parents have a right to know their children are being bullied, and a new bill says they do.

Called "Jacobe's Law," the bill requires New York schools to inform parents if their child is being picked on, harassed, or discriminated against.

And it's inspired by one particularly tragic case.

Jacobe's Law

Jacobe Taras.Richard Taras / AP

The law is named for Jacobe Taras, a 13-year-old boy from Moreau, New York who was a target for his school's bullies.

Jacobe's parents, Richard and Christine, say they had no idea their son was a victim of bullying until it was too late to help him.

Their son tragically took his own life in 2015, but not before leaving a heartbreaking suicide note.

"Dear Mom and Dad," it began, "I'm sorry but I can not live anymore."

Jacobe went on to describe being called names, "pushed, punched, tripped," and told to kill himself by other students at his school.

To Honor Their Son

"Jacobe was the kindest soul you could meet, with extremely good manners, empathy and people skills," his father told The Associated Press.

"For someone like that to decide to take his own life, it's hard on so many levels. You feel like you didn't protect them."

The Taras's say they knew their child was being picked on, but not the whole truth about his trouble at school.

Now, they're championing a new law to protect other children. But some parents don't approve.

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