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NJ Anti Bullying Law: Toughest In The Nation
  by: Rebel - Havertown, PA
started: 08/18/11 7:07 am | updated: 08/18/11 7:07 am
Students get back to school in the next couple weeks and New Jersey schools are ramping up for the state's new anti-bullying law.

School administrators have attended regional training sessions to prepare for implementing the measure, which has been called the toughest of its kind in the nation.

The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights permits the expulsion of offenders from school and adds strict requirements to report and investigate incidents without delay.

The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights requires schools to investigate bullying even when it occurs off school property.

Districts have until Sept. 1 to show the state Department of Education that their policies comply with the law, signed by Gov. Christie in January.
"It's a challenge. The law itself is laudable, but it's difficult to implement the procedures to comply with the law. We're scrambling to do it." David Weinstein, a member of the Moorestown school board.

Under the rules, every public school is required to have an anti-bullying specialist - often a counselor - and each district must have an anti-bullying coordinator.

School employees are required to deliver written reports to their principals within two days of learning of a bullying incident. A principal must complete his or her investigation within 10 days, and the district superintendent has to recommend a plan of action at the next school board meeting.
Failure to meet deadlines could lead to disciplinary action.

“By investigating a possible bullying incident, you're communicating with the kids. If you're wrong and you overreacted, it will still be a positive outcome." Haddon Township Middle School science teacher Tom Mulligan, who prefers to err on the side of caution.

The bill of rights also mandates anti-bullying training as part of the professional-development requirements for teachers and administrators.

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