The New Jersey State Senate and Assembly passed the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights (3466) yesterday with a 71-1 from the Assembly and a 30-0 vote in the Senate.
New Jersey has had anti-bullying legislation since 2002–one of the first laws against bullying in the country, however the new “Bill of Rights” is a more comprehensive and mandatory set of procedures to fight against bullying. Below are some of the new mandates:
- requires training on harassment, intimidation, and bullying for most public school teachers, administrators, board members and school staff.
- adds a conviction of “bias intimidation” to the list of crimes for which a person may be disqualified for employment in a school
- requires school districts to establish bullying prevention programs or approaches. Under current law, school districts are only “encouraged” to establish such programs.
- designates the week beginning with the first Monday in October of each year as a “Week of Respect” and requires districts to observe the week by providing age-appropriate instruction focusing on preventing harassment, intimidation or bullying.
- provides that the superintendent of schools in each school district must appoint a district anti-bullying coordinator and sets forth the responsibilities of that individual.
- provides that the Department of Education must establish a formal protocol to be used by the offices of the executive county superintendent of schools in investigating complaints that school districts are not adhering to the provisions of law governing harassment, intimidation, or bullying in the schools.
- includes in the School Report Card data identifying the number and nature of all reports of harassment, intimidation or bullying.
The bill also includes a provision that requires colleges and universities to include a policy on harassment, intimidation, or bullying as part of its student code of conduct.
The bill, which gained support after the tragic suicide of Tyler Clementi, will now go to Governor Christie for consideration.
(Photo: Flickr/ Eddie~S)