(TRENTON) – Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Senator Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex), lead sponsors of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, today praised the bipartisan solution that has been reached to help school districts fully comply with the landmark law.
“I’m extremely pleased with this solution because at the end of the day, the law has not changed, which means that our goal of protecting the countless students who are at the mercy of bullies day in and day out remains intact,” said Vainieri Huttle. “With any new law of this magnitude, there’s going be some growing pains. This will help assist schools in adjusting and complying with the new requirements. I’m grateful that everyone involved in this process has shown a willingness to work together for the benefit of our students.”
“Hopefully it will be easier for schools to implement the Anti-Bullying law as a result of this agreement. More importantly, it protects all of the victims of bullying who may not have had the law on their side until now,” said Buono. “I hope this sends a strong message to students everywhere, who have been harassed, intimidated or bullied, that they are not alone and their pleas have not fallen on deaf ears.”
The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights was signed into law last January and went into effect in September with the start of the new school year. In late January of this year, the state Council on Local Mandates found that the law contained unfunded mandates after several school districts filed complaints. The legislature was given 60 days to remedy the law or risk it being invalidated.
Vainieri Huttle and Buono worked with their co-sponsors from across the aisle and Governor Christie to reach a solution that was announced today wherein the state will provide $1 million in funding, to be awarded as grants through the State Department of Education, to help districts with programming, approaches and personnel issues. A seven-member taskforce will also be created to draw up guidance for school districts to follow in implementing the law.