Posted by: Catherine Lugg | November 22, 2010

Anti-bullying bill passes NJ Assembly and Senate

The NJ Assembly and Senate have passed a anti-bullying bill that strengthens the 2002 law that specifically mentioned either actual or perceived sexual orientation. The new bill passed the NJ Senate by a vote of 30-0, and it passed the Assembly 71-1, with 5 abstentions.

From the Star Ledger:

The bill (A3466) would require training for most public school employees on how to spot bullying and mandate that all districts form “school safety teams” to review complaints.

Superintendents would have to report incidents of bullying to the state Board of Education, which would grade schools and districts on their efforts to combat it.

Administrators who do not investigate reported incidents of bullying would be disciplined, while students who bully could be suspended or expelled. School employees would also be required to report all incidents they learn of, whether they took place in or outside of school.

A major problem in the bill is that it only requires that NJ colleges and universities include bullying in their student disciplinary codes. There are no reporting requirements, mandates for professional development and so forth. So, although the death of Tyler Clementi was invoked, not much will change in higher education.

I’m quite interested to see if Gov Christie will actually sign this bill. The NJ Family Policy Council (read right-wing Protestant group) is adamantly opposed. And Christie is rumored to be considering a presidential run. He would need the support of hard-right groups within the GOP. Except almost every Republican in both NJ Houses voted for this bill.

Let’s see if Christie signs the bill for the good of NJ kids or vetoes it in support of the Governor’s grander political ambitions.

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