Tag Archive: Valerie Vaineiri Huttle

Governor Christie signs the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights

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.  

Super Delegate

Last week, when I attended the Birthday Bash for Senator Weinberg, I had some very enlightening conversations about the upcomiing convention in Denver.  I was face to face with women I respected  in the Democratic Party here in NJ. Women who passionately support Hillary Clinton for President.  The most passionate of all was Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle.  She made me see a whole side to the battle for the nomination that I had missed.  

In my rush to explain why I and others younger than I, liked Barack Obama, I neglected to understand, contemplate or even explain the powerful effect Hillary has on the women in the Democratic party.  I was corrected on that point by some very ardent Hillary supporters.  After that I had a lot to think about and when a documentary on Hillary came on one nite, I watched the whole thing, realizing, I did not know what makes her tick as much as I thought.  

I did come to the realization that although I had never really suffered for my gender the way many women before me had, I profited from their sweat nevertheless.  It is the same way that white Americans have the luxury of never have to stop and think of themselves as white.  I never have to stop and think of myself as a WOMAN engineer.  I skipped the women’s studies classes at Rutgers, because I didn’t need to know where I came from, just where I was headed.  And so, I lacked an appreciation for all that came before me – especially in NJ politics.

I know Elizabeth Cady Stanton lived in my town and tried to vote here, but those thoughts about her are all in sepia tones. History.  Worth preserving, but hard to imagine living through myself.  I didn’t get the connection that comes from viewing your life as a continuum.  

Super Tuesday night, Hillary said something remarkable.  Something that stopped me cold.  That her own mother was born BEFORE women could vote.  THAT hit me.  Hit me hard.  I got a lump in my throat and understood Hillary better.  My own mom had wanted to become a lawyer and went to a private girl’s school where many of her classmates did just that.  My grandmother was a working mom herself.  I didn’t have the same experiences many women have – fighting to get ahead.  Then, I watched that documentary and saw how Hillary spent her life.  The word that came to me wasn’t cold.  It was STOIC.  Her upbringing made her stoic.  Her knowledge of the fight that her mother’s generation knew made her tough.  I started to think, well, maybe Hillary won’t be such a push-over for the corporate donors.  She may have let Bill get away with a lot, but she never backed down from a fight worth winning.  I started to like this new Hillary.

My fear of her kowtowing to Joe Ferreiro and the money men in NJ politics was probably very misplaced.  She is so busy running her campaign, she has no idea what is going on at our level.  Perhaps I was being too cynical.  The fact that so many women I admire trust her shoudl be worth at least a second look on my part.  My experience in Upstate NY when I worked there and their distrust of outsiders – even from NYC is legendary.  Hillary still won them over.  That is worth noting as well.  She may be our next President.  

I am hoping that Assemblywoman Huttle gets her chance to go to Denver as a Super Delegate.  Assemblywoman Huttle is as determined to clean up NJ politics as Loretta Weinberg herself.  She is also extremely concerned about healthcare and believes that Hillary’s plan is better.  Although I had written one of my last diaries about her opponent, in a state that voted for Hillary – I really think Assemblywoman Huttle would do us all proud.

Senator Weinberg, at her birthday bash said that week, not only did the Giants win the Super Bowl, but when she saw the first debate with just Hillary and Barack, she thought she had gone to heaven.  It was incredible to see two qualified candidates for the most important job in the land.  

And so I wish Assemblywoman Huttle the best and appreciate her passion for her candidate and I understand a lot better why the women I think so highly of, support Hillary so much.