We are pleased to share that our partner, Luanne Peterpaul, as member of the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Task Force (ABTF) contributed to the publication of this year’s annual report. This morning, ABTF submitted its annual report to the Governor, NJ State Legislature, and the Commissioner of the Department of Education. With a focus on the effective implementation of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights (ABR) in New Jersey schools, the ABTF is recommending several revisions to regulation, as well as the development of additional guidance for the field that will help to clarify the law and support its practice in schools.
Among these recommended code revisions are:
- the inclusion of the concept of a “power differential” in the definition of bullying as a method of distinguishing the motivating characteristics of the aggressor,
- the establishment of minimum criteria that must be met for the principal to initiate an investigation through the Anti-Bullying Specialist,
- the development of time limits for parents/guardians to request a hearing before the Board of Education related to an HIB incident,
- clarification that adult-on-student behavior is covered by the ABR,
- clarification that a confidential disciplinary file is a “mandated student record”, and
- a re-naming of the School Safety Team to the “School Safety/Climate Team,” to better reflect its critical role to develop, foster, and maintain a positive school climate.
“I must thank and congratulate all of the members of this Task Force who worked countless hours preparing this report,” said Task Force Chairperson Patricia Wright. “We gathered a lot of data; listened to many principals, teachers, administrators, and parents throughout New Jersey; discussed and debated the issues; and ultimately wrote what I consider to be a very impressive report with strong recommendations that will further improve the culture and climate in our schools. I am looking forward to continued conversations with the Administration and the Legislature and hopefully positive changes in regulations to make the goals of this important legislation a reality in every New Jersey school.”
The Anti Bullying Task Force was established in March 2012 as part of an amendment to the “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act” to provide guidance to school districts, examine the implementation of ABR, draft model regulations, present recommendations, and prepare a report on the effectiveness of the act in addressing bullying in schools.
A copy of the 2014 Annual Report can be downloaded here.