Hi, Blue Jersey. We’re jubiliant. Governor Christie’s office called Valerie Vainieri Huttle’s office and Mary Pat Angelini’s office earlier this morning to tell them he has just signed the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, and Governor Christie’s spokesperson Michael Drewniak has now confirmed it to the press.
Thank you and God bless you, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Barbara Buono, Mary Pat Angelini, Diane Allen and Loretta Weinberg, the prime sponsors of the law.
Thank each and every one of you, our wonderful partners at Blue Jersey, so deeply much for your partnership on this and so many other landmark laws we’ve passed together over the years. You know, one year ago tomorrow, January 7, 2010, the state Senate voted down marriage equality.
We regrouped and passed the strongest possible anti-bullying law by far – a law that will make every bit of a difference in our society as marriage equality will – and we’ll win that too. Stay tuned on that one.
Resilience, as they say, is the key to winning civil rights. You can give in, you can give out, but you can never give up. And you never do, Blue Jersey. Again, thank you so much for your vital role in helping with this law, which will improve the lives of our kids forever.
Here are some highlights of the new law.
America’s first anti-bullying law that sets statewide deadlines for incidents of bullying to be reported, investigated and resolved.
Under the new law, teachers and other school personnel must report incidents of bullying to principals on the same day as a bullying incident. An investigation of the bullying must begin within one school day. A school must complete its investigation of bullying within 10 school days, after which there must be a resolution of the situation.
America’s first anti-bullying law to provide for an anti-bullying coordinator in every district, and an anti-bullying specialist in every school to lead an anti-bullying team that also includes the principal, a teacher and a parent.
America’s first anti-bullying law to grade every school on how well it is countering bullying – and to require that every school post its grade on the home page of its website. Also on the home page of its website, every school must post contact information for its anti-bullying specialist.
America’s first anti-bullying law to ensure quality control in anti-bullying training by requiring the involvement of experts from academia and the not-for-profit sector.
America’s first anti-bullying law to provide training to teachers in suicide prevention specifically with regard to students from communities at high risk for suicide.
America’s first anti-bullying law to apply not only to students in grades K-12, but also to higher education. Public universities in New Jersey will have to distribute their anti-bullying policies to all students within seven days of the start of the fall semester.
The law applies to extracurricular school-related settings, such as cyberbullying, school buses, school-sponsored functions and to bullying off school grounds that carries over into school.
The law requires a school to notify the parents of all students involved in an incident, including the parents of the bully and the bullied student, and offers counseling and intervention services.
The law mandates year-round anti-bullying instruction appropriate to each grade, and an annual Week of Respect in every school that will feature anti-bullying programming.
The law applies to all bullied students. In addition to protecting students based on the categories of actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression, the law has clear language protecting students bullied for any other reason.