NJ Assembly and Senate Pass Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights


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:

The Bill:

  • 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)

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  1. (the prof supports Anti-Bully measures, but this law is a bit of a joke, hopefully my coffee hasn’t kicked in and I just read it wrong…. I hope…)

    The Bill begins with a garble of contradictory terms:

    “Amends the definition of “harassment, intimidation or bullying”: to provide that an incident must either substantially disrupt or interfere with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students; and to add additional criteria to the definition – the creation of a hostile educational environment for the student by interfering with a student’s education or by severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm to the student;…”

    So it must “substantially disrupt or interfere with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students,” and it creates new criteria, “hostile educational environment,” that is made by simply, “interfering with a student’s education.”

    Well which is it the Bullying? Substantially disruptive or just interfering?

    Because of this, I believe “Bullying” will be ANYTHING that a student finds off-putting or, dare I say, childish.

    So say goodbye to calling someone with glasses “4 EYES,” or “Your momma wears combat boots,” or “Steve and Katie sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G…” All of these, once playful rites of passage for generations, are now triggers to a Court case or at least a stern talking to.

    Or is this going to be on an ad hoc basis where one Principal puts the allegation in an age appropriate context, but yet another doesn’t?

    I fear this is going to be a mess, with a lot of good kids getting in BIG trouble and being labeled as a “BULLY,” when perhaps all that’s needed is some, adult supervision- what Principals & Parents used to provide.

    But this is what happens when we expect the nanny-State to raise our kids…

  2. Here we go more legislation based on a kneejerk reaction from an admittedly horrible event (see Kyleigh’s Law) . Let’s see where this one leads us. While we need to educate our children about the potentially devastating results of bullying I don’t think it’s something that needs to be legislated and left in the hands of teachers to determine the intent of a child’s words. Tolerance needs to be taught and practiced in the home. If a household tolerates that sort of behavior then there isn’t any legislation that will stop it. Often bullies are bullied themselves behind closed doors by parents and siblings and are perpetuating an unfortunate behavioral pattern. In situations like this hopefully these kids can be identified and can benefit from some sort of counseling. However, kids are kids and they throw around expressions without trying to demean a group, I’m sure we all have done and probably still do at times. There is a difference between targeting someone with the intention of hurting and belittling them and a teacher hearing some sort immature name calling amongst friends. How does someone that hears something in the hall differentiate between an immature phrase and a real threat? Are both offenses to be treated equally? If so, there will be a lot of good children hauled in front administrators for a silly comment and potentially have a mark on their record. Bullying is wrong and all efforts need to be done to eliminate it but I’m not sure this is the path to take.

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