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An Overview of Amendments to Laws on Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying. August 24, 2011 Principal Training. The New Law. Intent is to strengthen standards for preventing, reporting, investigating, and responding to incidents of bullying and reduce the risk of suicide among students

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an overview of amendments to laws on harassment intimidation and bullying

An Overview of Amendments to Laws on Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying

August 24, 2011

Principal Training


The New Law

  • Intent is to strengthen standards for preventing, reporting, investigating, and responding to incidents of bullying and reduce the risk of suicide among students
  • Effective September 2011
  • Changes 13 statutes
  • Affects districts and a number of state agencies, including NJDOE

Major Changes

  • New definition of Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB)
  • District Staff Functions
  • Policy and Procedures
  • Programs
  • Training Requirements
  • Public Reporting
new hib definition
New HIB Definition

"Harassment, intimidation or bullying" means any gesture, any written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication, whether it be a single incident or a series of incidents, that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical or sensory disability, or by any other distinguishing characteristic, that takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function, on a school bus, or off school grounds* as provided for in section 16 of P.L.2010, CHAPTER 122, that substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students and that:

new hib definition cont
New HIB Definition (cont.)
  • A reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, what will have the effect of physically or emotionally harming a student or damaging the student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his person or damage to his property;
  • Has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students; or
  • Creates a hostile educational environment for the student by interfering with a student’s education or by severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm to the student.

New District HIB Policy

  • Must include:
    • New HIB definition.
    • Must have link to this policy prominently on District Home Page/Web site.
    • Expected student behavior – what does positive behavior look like?
    • Consequences and remedial measures on multiple levels (individual, school, district)
    • Our reporting procedure for HIB instances including how we will investigate the matter
    • Contacts/Names for new roles at district and school level
    • Must be in place by September and submitted to County Superintendent (subsequent annual reviews must also be submitted to County Superintendent within 30 days.)

NOTE: Districts have been advised to move away from “zero tolerance” language

    • Policy must be created in consultation with parents and community members…and this process MUST be documented.
new staff roles
New Staff Roles
  • Anti-Bullying Coordinator (District)
  • Anti-Bullying Specialist (School)
  • School Safety Team (School)
everyone s role
Everyone’s Role



(Refer to pg 12 & 13 of HIB policy)

anti bullying coordinator
Anti-bullying Coordinator
  • Appointed by Superintendent
  • Coordinates and strengthens district HIB policy to prevent, identify, and address HIB
  • Collaborates with anti-bullying specialists, board of education and Superintendent.
  • Meets at least twice a school year with the school anti-bullying specialists
  • Provides data, in collaboration with the Superintendent to the NJDOE and performs other related duties
  • PPS Anti-bullying Coordinator: Andre McCollum
anti bullying specialists
Anti-bullying Specialists
  • Appointed by the principal from currently employed staff
    • Guidance counselor, school psychologist, or other school staff trained as an anti-bullying specialist
  • Chairs the School Safety Team
  • Leads the investigation of reported HIB incidents
  • Acts as the primary school official responsible for preventing, identifying, and addressing incidents of HIB in the school
  • Assists the principal in appropriately applying the range of ways for responding to HIB established by the school board
  • Provides input to local school board on annual re-evaluation, reassessment, and review of policy
school safety team
School Safety Team
  • Formed to develop, foster, and maintain a positive school climate, including HIB issues
  • Meets at least 2 times per school year
  • Consists of the principal (or designee, preferably a senior administrator) and principal appointees: a teacher in the school, the school anti-bullying specialist (serves as chair), a parent* of a student in the school, and other members determined by the principal
  • Identifies and addresses patterns of HIB in the school
  • Reviews and strengthens school climate and policies in order to prevent and address HIB

*Parent team members may only participate in activities that do not compromise student confidentiality.

mandatory training
Mandatory Training
  • Districts are responsible for two training requirements:
    • Inservice training for all staff (school leaders, teachers, custodians, district office, etc.)
    • Training for new employees
      • Information regarding the school district policy against HIB must be incorporated into a school’s employee training program
      • The training program must be provided to full-time and part-time staff, volunteers who have significant contact with students, and those persons contracted by the district to provide services to students
  • Board Members – provided by New Jersey School Boards Association in consultation with recognized experts in school bullying
public reporting
Public Reporting
  • NJ School Report Cards
  • Superintendent to Board of Education
  • Superintendent to NJDOE
  • NJDOE to Senate and Assembly Committees
public reporting1
Public Reporting
  • Prior Law: The superintendent was required to annually report to the board of education all acts of violence and vandalism, including HIB.
  • New Law : The superintendent must report at two public hearings:
    • One between 9/1 and 1/1; and
    • One between 1/1 and 6/30
  • New Law: District must put a link to the report on its Website, as well as District and School grades on respective home pages.
hib investigation
HIB Investigation
  • On same day it is learned or some evidence exists, it MUST be reported to the school principal.
  • Principal (or his/her designee) initiate’s investigation within ONE school day of verbal report and within 2 school days, a written report must be completed.
  • Principal and school Anti-bullying specialist investigate the issue and investigation must be completed ASAP, but no more than TEN school days of written report.
  • Principal must submit report to Superintendent within two school days of completion of investigation.
hib investigation1
HIB Investigation
  • Superintendent must ensure Student Code of Conduct has been implemented/appropriate intervention taken.
  • Superintendent reports results of each investigation to Board of Ed no later than date of subsequent regularly scheduled Board meeting.
  • Parents of pupils must be provided IN WRITING with information about the investigation – including findings and whether consequences are imposed. Must be provided within 5 school days after results of investigation are reported to Board of Education.
  • Upon receiving report, parent or guardian may request hearing before Board of Ed. If granted, must be held within 10 days of request in Executive Session.
addressing hib
Addressing HIB
  • According to experts, these are common mistakes schools make when addressing HIB:
    • Schools are fixated on the bullies and not on the 85% who are bystanders;
    • Keep promoting “Zero Tolerance” but this approach does NOT work and only feeds the “school to prison” pipeline.
    • Assume bullies have low self esteem. This is false yet has been believed for MANY years.

We need to mobilize the silent majority into the caring majority: Bystanders to “Upstanders”.

next steps for district
Next Steps for District
  • August:
    • Review and approved revised district HIB policy for submission to County by Sept. 1st
    • Conduct training on new HIB policy for Principals and District leadership/staff
  • September:
    • Establish district-wide committee/task force to create comprehensive Anti-bullying campaign
    • Anti-bullying Coordinator to be trained by DOE and plan for day of training with School Anti-bullying Specialists
    • Parental Training: Plan for workshops to help educate parents on what is and what is not bullying. We also need to reassure parents that schools/district takes all issues seriously.
bullying prevention program
Bullying Prevention Program
  • Prior Law: Schools and school districts were encouraged to annually establish, implement, document, and assess bullying prevention programs or approaches, and other initiatives involving school staff, parents, law enforcement and community members.
  • New Law: Schools and school districts must annually establish, implement, document, and assess these approaches.
    • The approaches must be designed to create school-wide conditions to prevent and address HIB.
bullying prevention program1
Bullying Prevention Program
  • PPS will form broad committee (including community members, students, parents, teachers and led by Anti-bullying Coordinator) to create district-wide “Anti-bullying campaign”. Campaign will be modeled after best practices (e.g. Jersey City).
  • A “Bullying Prevention Fund” is to be created in the NJDOE, to offer grants to school districts to provide training on HIB and on the effective creation of positive school climates. Note: No funding has been appropriated or donated at this time
bullying prevention program2
Bullying Prevention Program
  • New Law: Instruction & Week of Respect
    • The week beginning with the first Monday in October of each year is designated as a “Week of Respect” in the State of New Jersey
    • School districts must observe the week by providing age-appropriate instruction focusing on preventing HIB
    • Throughout the school year the school district must provide ongoing age-appropriate instruction on preventing HIB in accordance with the core curriculum content standards
next steps for principals
Next Steps for Principals
  • By September 13th:
    • Principals must appoint a School Anti-bullying Specialist who is required to Chair the School Safety Team.
    • Ensure the name/phone number/email address of School Anti-bullying Specialist is on your School Web page by September.
    • Ensure review of expectations and consequences with all students
  • By end of September:
    • Back to School Night: Distribute memo to parents on new HIB policy and reassure parents that school/district takes all issues seriously. Advise parents on how we are addressing HIB and give them name and contact info. of Anti-bullying Specialist.
    • Principal and Anti-bullying Specialist will coordinate a School Safety Team that must include a parent and a teacher. (NOTE: Parents are NOT permitted to be part of investigative matters as this violates confidentiality).
    • Send School Anti-bullying Specialist for district training
    • Train all teachers/school staff on new HIB policy
training for teachers staff
Training for Teachers/Staff
  • Per New Law:
    • Superintendent and principal shall provide training on school districts HIB policy to current and new school employees, contracted service providers, and volunteers who have significant contact with pupils.
    • Also, each public school teacher shall be required to complete at least two hours of instruction in HIB prevention.
    • Teachers: The required two hours of suicide prevention instruction shall include information on the relationship between the risk of suicide and incidents of HIB
document everything

School districts and individual schools

will be graded by the State on our/your efforts

to combat HIB.

It is essential that you document everything including meetings held by the

School Safety Teams

& any HIB-related programs and campaigns.

This documentation will be submitted to State to receive your grade.

Grades will be posted on your Web site.

estimated timeline
Estimated Timeline
  • August
    • Review of new HIB Policy (Public Hearing)
    • Assign Anti-bullying Coordinator
    • Training for Principals and some PPS staff
    • Update forms for HIB reporting
  • September:
    • New HIB Policy submitted to County and posted on district Web site
    • Create and convene district-wide Anti-bullying Committee and School Safety Teams
    • Training for Anti-bullying Coordinator, Specialists, teachers and staff
    • Parent notices and review of expectations and consequences with students
  • October:
    • Oct 3 – 7 “Week of Respect” Activities at schools
    • Anti-bullying Committee - Review and approve campaign ideas
    • Workshops for parents/teachers at Annual Parent Awareness Day
  • November:
    • New Anti-bullying campaign finalized
    • Community Forum to announce campaign
    • Begin roll-out of campaign to schools
  • December:
    • Special section of Web site launched to promote new campaign
    • First report from Superintendent to Board