New Jersey is trying to pass an “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights” to help control cyberbullying. This would toughen a 2002 law by bringing more attention to the cyber-specific aspects of bullying. Inspiration for this “Bill of Rights” comes from the recent suicide of Rutgers freshmen Tyler Clementi; however, the legislation would NOT be in effect at colleges or universities.
Under the new law, public school employees will be trained to better recognize cyberbullying. All school districts will have “school safety systems” set up to address cyberbullying complaints. Punishment for bullying will be harsher – administrators who ignore incidents face suspension and bullies are subject to suspension or expulsion. Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle said in a recent hearing that approximately 160,000 students dread going to school every day for fear of bullying.
Parents and students also testified in support of the law, sharing their stories and experiences. New Jersey is definitely taking a step in the right direction if this law passes. Hopefully it will inspire other states to take action, and create a shift in culture as cyberbullying becomes a more recognizable and acknowledged issue.
How do you think this law will help victims of cyberbullying? What do you think needs to be done to make a difference?