VAINIERI HUTTLE ASKS SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO WORK TOGETHER TO IMPLEMENT ANTI-BULLYING LAW, NOT THROW IN THE TOWEL

Assemblywoman Hopes Council on Local Mandates Will Uphold Landmark Law

On the eve of a Council on Local Mandate’s hearing on the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), the lead sponsor of the landmark law, urged local school districts to work cooperatively to implement the law’s provisions rather than standing in the way of a child’s right to an education free of bullying and intimidation.

The Council on Local Mandates is scheduled to hear a complaint on Friday in Trenton that has been brought forth by the Allamuchy school district and several others, claiming that the law constitutes an unfunded mandate for school districts.

When given a choice between giving up and working through an issue, we teach our children to ask for help but never quit. Unfortunately, when it comes to New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights some school districts have decided that it is better to give up than overcome the challenges of implementing the new law.

“This landmark law is not an unfunded mandate because, by design, it does not require any district to expend additional reDests. While school personnel must be trained in how to identify and address bullying, the law does not force schools to use particular programs or materials. In fact, there is free training available through the State Bar Association Foundation and professional development in anti-bullying provided by the New Jersey Education Association.

“As with many new laws, they are a work in progress and additional guidance from the Department of Education is hopefully forthcoming. School district concerns must be addressed and I am committed to making that happen.

“If bullying victims can go to school every day and persevere despite the daily fears and anxiety they face, then certainly school districts can do their part by supporting this law that protects harassed and intimidated students,” said Vainieri Huttle.