Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Anti-Bully Law Puts Burden on Garwood's Teachers and Administrators

The state has passed a new version of its anti-bullying law. A key component of the tough bill puts much of the burden on anti-bullying on teachers and school administrators. Some of the toughest wording in the new bill includes disciplinary action for administrators who fail to take action when bullying takes place. School employees are also mandated to file a written report with principals within two days of observing or being made aware of an act of bullying, according the bill.

Garwood's Lincoln School, and others statewide, will also have to appoint an anti-bullying specialist to be on-call in the building, and one for the district. The superintendent of schools and the team will be responsible for compiling the number of incidents of bullying. That tally will then be used to grade the school district's performance, according to the bill. 
Garwood's School District will also be required to provide training on harassment, intimidation, and bullying for school teaching staff.

Advocates say the bill will help school districts push back against bullies.

Critics say the bill increases taxpayer liability by opening up schools and public institutions to lawsuits.

The bill's only nay-vote came from Republican Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll of Morris County, he says the bill will not cover all cases of bullying. He says those targeted for being a "nerd or bookish" have no recourse. Carroll said the bill only covers bullying in specific discrimination cases, including ethnic, racial and sexual discrimination, according to a report posted on Westfield Patch.


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