New Jersey Anti-Bulling Law
Under New Jersey law, “harassment, intimidation or bullying” means any gesture, any written, verbal or physical act or any electronic communication, whether it is a single incident or a series of incidents that is shown to be motivated by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation including gender expression or identity mental or physical disability or other distinguishing characteristics. HIB applies to all members of the education community when the act takes place on ay school property, at any school sponsored function, on a school bus, on or off school grounds that substantially disrupts or interferes with the operation of school or the rights of pupils. A reasonable person should know the circumstances that have the effect of physically or emotionally harming a pupil or damaging their property or placing a person in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm or has the result of insulting or demeaning any group of students or an individual or indeed creates a hostile educational environment by interfering with a pupil’s education whether severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm as a result.
In each of the schools within the Morris School District we have identified specialized personnel and resources to accomplish the goals of increased prevention, reporting, and responsiveness to incidents of harassment, intimidation, or bullying, including the appointment of school anti-bullying specialists and a district anti-bullying coordinator.
The Morris School District has increased the amount of professional development that each teaching staff member completed this year and have in each school a preventative program that has it roots in character education. Programs for our students were establsihed prior to the new 2011 legislation as the Morris School Board of Education have always taken a strong stance on bullying and its prevention. Programs such as No More Bullies, Educators for Social Responsibility and Character Counts are now augmented in every school with supplemental lessons designed by the New Jersey Bar Foundation. All of our students are exposed to anti-bullying lessons, assemblies and performances from outside groups which carry the anti bullying message in powerful and grade appropriate manner. Thus we have a consistent and ongoing message which emphasizes the need for a strong, positive and supportive school climate and a community which is accepting of all individuals.