Protecting students from sexual abuse and misconduct in schools, a four-bill package sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Carol Murphy, Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and John Armato was signed into law Monday.
“Now more than ever, it is imperative that we are doing everything we can in New Jersey to protect our students from sexual abuse, harassment, and misconduct,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “These new laws send a message to anyone employed by a school district that this type of behavior will not be tolerated under any circumstance and the legislature is taking action to solidify that.”
“There’s no place in our State for sexual abuse of any kind, particularly towards children,” said Murphy (D-Burlington). “Preventing future abuse begins in schools. The stronger training and reporting policies established under these laws will help school staff identify cases of abuse and address the situation.”
“When a parent sends their child to school, they trust the student will be safe from harm,” said Armato (D-Atlantic). “We are taking integral steps to make our schools safer in New Jersey by ensuring child sexual abuse will be brought to light, and survivors will get the justice they deserve.”
“Children who are abused are often too afraid to come forward with their stories,” said Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon). “While it’s difficult to know how many victims exist, we can help prevent abuse in the future by holding abusers accountable and giving a voice to survivors.”
The laws include:
· A-850 (Lampitt) – Requires that sexual abuse against a child be reported to law enforcement officials.
· A-4406 (Lampitt/Murphy) – Mandates all new Department of Education arbitrators receive training on conduct unbecoming an employee including, but not limited to, issues related to allegations of sexual assault and child abuse.
· A-4408 (Lampitt/Armato) – Requires school districts to notify the State Board of Examiners when a teaching staff member fails to report child abuse if the report warrants the revocation or suspension of his certificate.
· A-4199 (Lampitt/Reynolds-Jackson) – Requires the Attorney General to develop protocol for retaining footage from school surveillance systems.