“Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights” telling LGBT youth #itgetsbetter passed by New Jersey Senate and Assembly

November 22, 2010 at 4:46 pm 30 comments

by Andy Kelley
New Media Organizer, Courage Campaign

Wonderful news coming out of Trenton today, as the New Jersey state Senate and Assembly overwhelmingly passed the “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights.” In the wake of Tyler Clementi’s tragic death, legislators reached accross the aisle to send a strong message that bullying in New Jersey public schools will no longer be tolerated.

As Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), one of the bill’s main sponsors tells Matt Friedman at NJ.com:

“In 2002, New Jersey adopted its first anti-bullying legislation encouraging school districts to actively combat bullying. Some districts have done an impressive job in answering that call. Others have not,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), one of the bill’s main sponsors. “This legislation makes it clear that preventing and responding to incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying are not optional.”

AB 3466 is an unprecedented effort to ensure that all students in New Jersey are protected from bullying, regardless of what community they attend school in. The bill requires staff to participate in anti-bullying training and for all campuses to form “school safety teams” which would be responsible for investigating and responding to reports of bullying. What is more, teachers would be required to report any incident of bullying they learn of, whether on or off campus, and all such complaints would be forwarded to the state Board of Education, to ensure an appropriate response is initiated. Further, administrators not responsive to reports of bullying would be disciplined and held accountable for their actions, or lack there of.

Though these new measures are certainly historic for their proactive steps forward to reduce bullying, and to provide school children a safe space in which to learn, they are historic for an entirely different reason: The wide margin by which they passed.

According to NJ.com the state Senate unanimously, (30-0) Assembly passed the measure 71-1, with 5 abstentions. Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris) was the only member to cast a no vote in either house.

As the bill moves on to Gov. Christie’s desk for signature, the elected leaders of New Jersey have certainly sent children in their state a strong message: “It Will Get Better.”

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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30 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kathleen  |  November 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Good for you New Jersey!

    Reply
    • 2. JonT  |  November 22, 2010 at 6:58 pm

      Reply
  • 3. Alan E.  |  November 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Yay New Jersey!

    Now back to digging through National Park Service archives. It’s cold in most of the building except right by the heater. Of course I can’t sit next to the heater because it might damage documents and artifacts.

    Reply
    • 4. Alan E.  |  November 22, 2010 at 4:50 pm

      Click

      Reply
    • 5. Ann S.  |  November 22, 2010 at 5:10 pm

      This sounds interesting! Sorry about the cold, of course.

      Reply
      • 6. Ann S.  |  November 22, 2010 at 5:10 pm

        click da button.

        Reply
  • 7. Linda  |  November 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Good News!

    Reply
  • 8. nightshayde  |  November 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Something makes me think that Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris) was a bully during his school days and likely still is.

    Reply
    • 9. Tony  |  November 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm

      Carroll doesn’t appear to have voted “no” because he is pro-bullying – he apparently thought the bill poorly worded (and without enough teeth to fire state employees that ignore bullying):

      “But Carroll told Patch he’d like to see a better definition of what a bully is, equal treatment for harassment victims regardless of whether they’re targeted for minority status, and more help for bullying victims.

      “Most of this bill is paperwork and reporting,” Carroll said. “If at the end of the day and you don’t know how to deal with bullying, you probably should think twice. It is not difficult it is not rocket science.”

      Carroll said the bill increases taxpayer liability by opening up schools and public institutions to lawsuits. He said he’d rather have simple language that says public employees who know about bullying and ignore it should be fired.”

      Reply
  • 10. Polydactyl  |  November 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Aw, this story just gives me warm fuzzies. :3

    Reply
  • 11. hirhodes  |  November 22, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Excellent work done by the N.J. legislatures but will the Republican Governor sign it?

    Reply
    • 12. Kevin S.  |  November 22, 2010 at 7:00 pm

      Christie is on the record as opposing SSM, but this isn’t the same issue, and while it would be nice to get his signature on the bill, they’d steamroll any veto.

      Reply
      • 13. hirhodes  |  November 22, 2010 at 7:44 pm

        Glad to hear it.

        Reply
  • 14. Harriet Forman  |  November 22, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Will the governor sign the bill?

    Reply
  • 15. Rhie  |  November 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Good!!

    Reply
  • 16. Straight Ally #3008  |  November 22, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    It’s a Jersey thing!

    (I’m a native, I can say that. Oh, and NOM? Yer GARBAGE!)

    Reply
    • 17. Kevin S.  |  November 22, 2010 at 8:14 pm

      Since I hold NOM and Jersey Shore in the same esteem, would Maggie be Snooki and Brian be The Situation?

      Reply
      • 18. BK  |  November 23, 2010 at 1:10 pm

        Don’t go there. Maggie and Brian degrade this website enough already… >.<

        Reply
  • 19. Sagesse  |  November 22, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Way to go, NJ!

    Reply
  • 20. Sagesse  |  November 22, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    NOM in Illinois.

    National Organization for Marriage targeting Illinois

    http://www.nowingaychicago.com/2010/11/national-organization-for-marriage.html

    Reply
    • 21. Kathleen  |  November 22, 2010 at 8:47 pm

      These people are just so MEAN.

      Reply
      • 22. Ann S.  |  November 22, 2010 at 9:24 pm

        And once again they’ve shown their true colors. It’s not just marriage rights they don’t want extended, despite their claiming that when convenient. It’s anything similar to marriage.

        Reply
    • 23. Ronnie  |  November 22, 2010 at 10:16 pm

      Yup, the National Organization for Misinformation/ Malevolence…is not about “Marriage” at all…they are nothing but a Fascist anti-American extremist group destroying the lives of anybody who doesn’t bow down to them…I mean their….naaaaaaaahh…I mean them…. ; )

      <3…Ronnie

      Reply
  • 24. Richard A. Jernigan  |  November 22, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Well, at least this one is a step in the right direction.

    Reply
  • 25. Ronnie  |  November 22, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Frak yeah New Joisey!!!!!!!!!….Just got home from the NO H8 photo shoot in Hoboken….it was fun…& made an announcement about this….most extensive anti-bullying legislation in the country….sweet….<3….Ronnie

    Reply
  • 26. rf  |  November 23, 2010 at 4:59 am

    Yes Christie will likely sign it, he’s been using Tyler’s death to make himself look good. Someone mentioned Christie is against marriage equality. That is an understatement. During the campaign he said he would lead an effort, if marriage equality was granted before he got in office, to constitutionally ban gays and lesbians from getting married.

    He has also been firing (1) and threatening to fire (another 3) judges who decided for NJ civil unions. He doesn’t want them deciding to grant full marriage when that case comes back again. The Star Ledger reported that the reason the NJ Supreme Court told Garden State Equality they had to start over on their case for full marriage equality (eventhough the whole thing had already been tried and NJ recently put out an official study on why civil unions were inferior) may have been because the judges were afraid of being fired.

    Also the Star Ledger reported that this bill has been around for about a year but Tyler’s death fasttracked it. You would think a state so incensed by bullying might have tackled this earleir. Garden State Equality and the legislators who have been working with them the whole time should be commended but sadly Tyler Clementi’s death is the sole reason this has happened now and got so much support.

    Reply
  • 27. Bob  |  November 23, 2010 at 10:11 am

    woot woot, New Jersey, wonder if the bill could include bullying in the military??

    would be a good time to hit them up for their stand on DADT

    excellent work step in the right dierction, push it further end DADT

    Reply
  • 28. Bob  |  November 23, 2010 at 10:14 am

    sorry forgot to add, would it reach far enough to stop the likes of NOM from bringing their bully bus to town??? that would be a real great piece of legislation

    Reply
    • 29. BK  |  November 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm

      Sadly–yet maybe not so sadly–no, probably not. You also have to think about the free speech/whatever implications in stuff like this.

      Reply
  • 30. Bob  |  November 23, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    free speach stops at bullying,,,,,,,,,,,,,, when your speach hurts another’s freedom it becomes very costly , either the victim pays as is the case now in the U.S. , usually with their lives, or at least becoming the walking dead, second class citizen who;s spirit is destroyed……. or the perpetrator pays, i.e. NOM is charged with inciting hatred under hate crimes.

    bullying and hatred are not free.

    LOVE is free and can be expressed without end , and knows no limits or boudaries, we are all free to love, but hatred is not free, it costs……

    Reply

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