New Jersey Passes 'Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights' to Combat Cyberbullying
The bill, which is now awaiting the signature of Governor Chris Christie, would require most public school employees to take training courses on how to pick up on cyberbullying, while forcing all districts to create "school safety teams" to consider complaints of bullying. The legislation also calls for school bullies to face suspension or expulsion, and requires school superintendents to report all bullying incidents to the New Jersey Board of Education. Schools and districts will receive grades on how well they handle and defuse such incidents.
"In 2002, New Jersey adopted its first anti-bullying legislation encouraging school districts to actively combat bullying. Some districts have done an impressive job in answering that call. Others have not," said Democratic Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, one of the bill's lead sponsors. "This legislation makes it clear that preventing and responding to incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying are not optional."
As NJ.com explains, the bill has actually been under consideration for nearly a year, as lawmakers sought to update a previous anti-bullying law that had been in effect for eight years. And, although Clementi's suicide may have spurred state legislators to take quick action, the newly passed law does not affect colleges or other institutions of higher education like Rutgers. Still, it's certainly good to know that state politicians are doing their best to help New Jersey's younger students deal with the insidious kinds of harassment that so many face.