As students and parents around the country finish up their last-minute shopping for school supplies and academic materials, officials from New Jersey schools are gearing up for a big change this year with regard to anti-bullying policies. "The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights," which appears to be one of the strictest, most comprehensive anti-bullying law in the United States, passed earlier this year, and it went into effect this week.
The New York Times has more on what the law requires of NJ schools:
Each school must designate an antibullying specialist to investigate complaints; each district must, in turn, have an antibullying coordinator; and the State Education Department will evaluate every effort, posting grades on its Web site. Superintendents said that educators who failed to comply could lose their licenses. [...]
The law also requires districts to appoint a safety team at each school, made up of teachers, staff members and parents, to review complaints. It orders principals to begin an investigation within one school day of a bullying episode, and superintendents to provide reports to Trenton 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.
"The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights" was at least partly stimulated by the death of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student who committed suicide last year after being the victim of anti-gay bullying.