Mark Law Firm Blog

Bullying in New Jersey Schools – Know Your Child’s Rights

Posted by Jamison Mark on Dec 5, 2014 3:00:00 PM
New Jersey Attorneys

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The Mark Law Firm, Basking Ridge, NJ.

Anti-Bullying Attorneys in Basking Ridge, New Jersey 

Children deserve a safe and respectful school environment in which to learn and associate with their peers.  A child subjected to bullying may lose interest in school, perform poorly, and withdraw from participation in school events.  Feeling safe in school promotes student learning and healthy development.

It's important to learn about the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights. New Jersey's Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act was signed into law by Governor Christie on January 5, 2011 and is considered to be the strongest anti-bullying legislation in the country.  Its premise is that students have a right to an education free from harassment, intimidation, and bullying, also referred to as “HIB.”  Although New Jersey has become a leader in anti-bullying legislation and policies, the problem persists.

Bullying can take many forms.  It may be physical, such as hitting or punching; verbal, including name-calling or teasing; emotional, such as intimidation through gestures or social exclusion; or through the sending of insults or threats using electronic communication, known as "cyber-bullying."

Harassment, intimidation, and bullying in our schools creates a climate of fear and disrespect that adversely impacts student learning.  Even more troubling is how this behavior directly affects the individuals involved.  Victims are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide, while those who bully are at risk of other antisocial or violent behavior.  Too often, bullying can go undetected, whether because a child is too embarrassed to report it or because the behavior is dismissed as inconsequential.

School districts are not always consistent in applying anti-bullying policies, and concerned parents need to know their rights.  Once you receive notice of an HIB event at your child’s school, you should actively monitor the procedures the school implements.  Timely investigation and notification of the involved children’s parents is essential.  The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights sets deadlines for incidents of bullying to be reported, investigated, and resolved. Teachers and other school personnel must report an incident of bullying to their principal on the same day that incident occurs. The principal must also inform parents on the day of the incident. An investigation must begin within one school day of the incident and be resolved within 10 days.

If you are unsatisfied with the results of an investigation, you can appeal the decision to your Board of Education.  If the Board’s decision is unsatisfactory, then you may appeal to the New Jersey Department of Education.  The New Jersey Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) hears any HIB appeal filed with the Department of Education.  Following a decision by the OAL, a final appeal can be made to the Commissioner of Education.

When any child is the subject of an HIB investigation, whether that child is the aggressor or the victim, active monitoring and participation in the process is essential for all concerned parents.  Engaging an education law attorney to ensure the process proceeds expeditiously and in compliance with New Jersey law and Board of Education policy can make all the difference.

 

Bullying in New Jersey is a very serious matter that must be handled aggressively and competently.   The Mark Law Firm has offices in Basking Ridge, Newark, and Oradell that conduct HIB cases.  If you're looking for Basking Ridge Bullying Lawyers, we are available to assist you through counseling, representation, and litigation. If you're looking the best lawyers in New Jersey or New Jersey day care injuries lawyers, call us at 908-626-1001 or 973-440-2311.

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Topics: Discrimination & Harassment, Education Law