(TRENTON) — Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle issued a multimedia package Thursday on her legislation — approved 72-2-3 — to help New Jersey schools fully comply with the recently enacted landmark Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights.
The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, sponsored by Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), was signed into law in January 2011 and went into effect in September, with the start of the new school year. In late January, the state Council on Local Mandates ruled that the law contained unfunded mandates, following complaints from several school districts. The council gave the Legislature 60 days to remedy the law or risk having it invalidated.
Vainieri Huttle’s remedy legislation (A-2709) — a bipartisan measure supported by the Christie administration — would provide $1 million in funding for the remainder of the school year, to be awarded as grants through the state Department of Education, to help districts provide training or harassment, intimidation and bullying prevention, the effective creation of positive school climates and to help fund related personnel expenses. The grant monies would only be awarded after a school district demonstrates that they have exhausted all bullying prevention programs and approaches that are available at no cost.
The multimedia package consists of a video of Vainieri Huttle’s remarks and public testimony in support of her legislation and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of comments by Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle is appended below:
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), Assembly Human Services Committee Chairwoman:
“This legislation today is to save the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights and allow New Jersey to remain a national leader and fight against harassment, intimidation and bullying.
“The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights was signed into law in January of 2011; implemented in this past school year. It has been in effect for a few months and a small school district went to the Council on Local Mandates, to appeal that it was an unfunded mandate. The Council on Local Mandates gave the Legislature 60 days to find remedies and ways to keep the law intact.
“And what we did in a bipartisan way was, we found $1 million in the general fund for this year to provide any of the school districts, after exhausting their free resources with training, some extra tools to implement the law. We also created a task force, a seven-member task-force, that would also provide the districts some clarification and guidelines.
“And we are hoping that with this latest bill, that it will continue to help enhance the law that’s in effect and the law is intact. So, we’re thrilled that we could offer some of those extra resources.”