New Bullying Law May Be Too Tough, Schools Say

school-bullyingA tough new law cracking down on school bullies takes effect today in New Jersey.

Called the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, the law was sparked by the suicide of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi last year, The New York Times reports. Clementi jumped off a bridge after his college roommate secretly used a webcam to film him in bed with another man and stream it over the Internet.

Parents and educators welcome the effort to stop bullies, and supporters of the new law say it has to be tough to cope with kids who can now be especially mean and damaging on online sites like Facebook.

But some school administrators say the new rules are too strict to enforce properly. “I think this has gone well overboard,” Richard G. Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, told The Times. “Now we have to police the community 24 hours a day. Where are the people and the resources to do this?”

Under the new law, school districts will be monitored and graded by the State Education Department on their efforts to deal with bullies, and each school must appoint a team to deal with bullying complaints. From the Times:

The law … orders principals to begin an investigation within one school day of a bullying episode, and superintendents to provide reports to [the State Education Department] twice a year detailing all episodes. Statewide, there were 2,846 such reports in 2008-9, the most recent year for which a total was available.

What do you think? Is this new law the right way to deal with bullies?

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  1. by daphne

    On September 2, 2011 at 3:21 am

    I completed a course project on children who committed suicide due to bullying last quarter, and what I found was that most schools have administrators and teachers who do nothing to take care of bullying. I repeat — nothing.

    I encourage you all to read about Eric Mohat, for instance. His case made me cry.

    I believe that the solution is for parents to study and to learn their respective state revised codes. Then, the parents must file police charges. My daughter currently is not attending the traditional high school due to some bullying. The principal at her middle school requested she not return, and the one student we know of that he interviewed is a young lady who had been knocking my daughter’s books out of her hands for an entire year. My daughter gave it back to her once, and the girl told on my daughter, and the other child was believed.

    I now know the legislation for cyber harassment, harassment, bullying, and stalking. I will never trust another teacher again in this way. In fact, one of the faculty members of the alternative school we are attending now stated that he had to take a child to court seven times to receive a restraining order for his daughter, and the school did not help, even though the bullying happened on school grounds.

    I do not believe any school faculty member who tosses up this smoke screen about having to impose supervision twenty-four hours a day. They can’t even do the right thing during a seven-hour school day.

    Please take my advice: state revised statutes, the police, and the courts. Best of luck to you all.

  2. by Geem

    On September 2, 2011 at 6:53 am

    While I admit I’ve not read the new law, I’m very, very put-off by the comment of the New Jersey education official quoted here…an immediate “cant’ do” attitude. From my experience as a teacher and parent, the kind of bullying that’s severe enough that it has to be dealt with is pretty easily apparent.
    To Mr Richard G. Bozza, who is so worried about “time and manpower”…for starters, establish an anonymous electronic reporting system that students can use to report bullying incidents. I’m sure in any school, such reports could be reviewed in less than half an hour a day by one individual. The complaint level isn’t going to be in the thousands…it’s going to be the 20 (more likely, 5) or less egregious cases that will be easy to identify as credible.
    That’s just an obvious, easy initial idea. But the point is, it can and should be dealt with because no child should have to suffer it…and it’s sad that such a prominent educational administrative leader would act as if it’s a “burden” on the schools. A safe environment — and social, moral education — is their job, not some extra that’s being imposed.

  3. by Les

    On September 3, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Is there really a price you can put on someones life? It is so sad that people are being bullied, and this law gives them a voice!

  4. by Steph

    On September 6, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I am so happy they are finally doing something about the “zero” tolerance for bullying! I was bullied from the time i was in 2nd grade throught my sophmore year in highschool. While in the 9th grade (in 2001) I complained to my principle about being spit on in gym class and being kicked in the hallway by 2 specific kids and the next day i came to find out that all that was done is the principle asked those 2 students if they kicked me or spit on me, to which of course their answers were no. I have since then known of 3 kids who have commited suicide in my hometown and they were kids who were picked on and bullied. Come on NJ stick with this law and punish the bullies who are damanging and often ruining young lives.

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  6. by Daimler

    On October 8, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Laws too tough for the bullies? Well how about the bullied? They have rights too. American schools have become too rough and non-condusive for the kids that do want to study and have peace in the school.

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  8. by Steve Smith

    On December 10, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Anytime governing bodies seek to deal with such an emotional issue through zero tolerance regulations, the result often leads to situations where common sense should have been used, but couldn’t dues to the new rules. Witness the “no weapons” zero tolerance regulations and ask why young kids with plastic knives get suspended. Or why having aspirin in a “no drugs” school can lead to being expelled.

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