South Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers
New Jersey Laws on Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying
New Jersey has some of the toughest anti-bullying laws in our nation. Harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) are unlawful acts with protection offered under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the New Jersey Law against Discrimination and New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act of 2011. Protection under these statutes extends to individuals in the workplace and to the students in our schools. Principals, superintendents, teachers and staff in New Jersey schools are required to report, address and act on all incidents of HIB or face stiff penalties for non-compliance with these laws.
Schools in New Jersey are required under the law to have policies in place that specifically outline how they are addressing and preventing incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying. These include public reporting requirements; regular reviews and updates of policies in place; anti-bullying instruction and training for students, faculty and staff as well as preventive measures that promote anti-bullying behavior.
What does HIB Look Like?
Harassment, intimidation and bullying can take many forms; some obvious and some subtle. The common denominator is that all incidents of HIB have detrimental and long lasting negative effects on children of all ages. HIB events have been reported at all grade levels from kindergarten through high school. While the degree and methods used to harass, intimidate and bully vary with age, the damaging results to the victim are the same.
Any action that deliberately intends to embarrass, humiliate, defame or disrupt a child’s right to an education is unlawful, whether it is one incident or repetitive. Harassment can include derogatory comments made about a child’s race, sex, gender identification or perceived gender identification, religion or disability, whether real or perceived. Intimidation can be done in the form of verbal, written or physical threats of harm to the victim or to their family, whether they are real or perceived by the victim. Bullying includes verbal, physical, mental or emotional abuse, including sexual assault, hazing, physical harm and cyber-bullying.
What New Jersey Law Requires of School Administrators and Teachers
School principals, teachers and staff are required to report all incidents of HIB to their superiors immediately, and action to address the situation must be taken within the same school day that the report was made. Immediate action includes notification of all parents or guardians whose children are involved in the incident. If the report of harassment, intimidation or bullying is submitted in writing, a full investigation into the claim needs to begin within 24 hours and finalized within 10 school days.
The results of the investigation need to be sent to the superintendent of the school district and be presented to the Board of Education at the next scheduled Board meeting. All parents and guardians of children named in the HIB incident need to be advised of all investigative procedures as well as the outcomes of those investigations.
Every child in New Jersey has the right to an education and any form of HIB that interferes with the child’s right to take advantage of that education is against New Jersey law. HIB can lead to extreme stress, anxiety, depression and physical illness for those affected. In extreme cases, suicidal thoughts, attempts to commit suicide and actual suicides have occurred. All school administrators, teachers and staff in New Jersey schools have the legal responsibility to prevent, recognize and report incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying, regardless of their personal relationship with a student.
In the past, some principals and teachers have been accused of playing “favorites” and protecting the aggressor because they favor them over the victim and discount their reports. New Jersey law requires that school administrators and faculty be objective and treat all reports or incidents with the same level of attention and action.
New Jersey Laws Prevent and Mandate Action for HIB Incidents
All New Jersey laws regarding harassment, intimidation and bullying require action on the part of school administrators, teachers and staff. Written policies outlining the specific offenses and relative actions in response to these offenses mandate compliance. It is the goal of New Jersey law to prevent, stop and address HIB behaviors by encouraging victims to come forward and report them because they know action will be taken. With proper education and training of employees, students and parents in New Jersey schools, the laws against harassment, intimidation and bullying can ensure the safety of all of our students.
South Jersey School Bullying Lawyers at the Law Offices of Robert N. Agre Advocate for Victims of Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying
Harassment, intimidation and bullying cause long-term damage to victims. Children in New Jersey schools are protected from HIB under state and federal laws, and can depend on authorities to enforce these laws to the maximum limit. No form of harassment, intimidation or bullying will be tolerated in the state of New Jersey, in our schools or in our places of work. If your child has been the victim of harassment or bullying, contact the experienced and knowledgeable South Jersey civil and criminal lawyers at the Law Offices of Robert N. Agre to further understand your legal rights.
Call us at 856-428-7797 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, allowing us to serve clients in Cherry Hill, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Salem County, and Cumberland County.