The state of New Jersey passed the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights in 2011 to improve harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB) laws that were adopted in 2002 (and subsequently amended in 2007 & 2008). These new regulations establish clearer standards for the definition of harassment, intimidation, and bullying while clarifying and strengthening standards on preventing, reporting, investigating and responding to incidents of HIB. Districts have been charged with the task of using existing resources to increase school safety.
Research clearly indicates that bullying is a learned behavior and detrimental to the academic, physical, social and emotional development of all involved—bullies, targets and the bystanders who witness it. A wave of recent bullying incidents with tragic outcomes has shed a renewed light on this issue. The advent of technology allows for impulsive, anonymous and rapid communication that has expanded the opportunities for bullying to a degree that necessitates more innovative and immediate responses than ever before (DuPage County Anti-Bullying Task Force Model Bullying Policy, 2011).
The Berkeley Heights Public Schools renews its efforts to prevent, report, investigate and respond to harassment, intimidation, and bullying that are aligned to state laws and district policies. The district’s Anti-Bullying Coordinator will coordinate district-wide efforts, work closely with school Anti-Bullying Specialists, provide staff training and send data to the NJDOE in collaboration with the district administration. Each school has been assigned an Anti-Bullying Specialist who will lead investigations into reports of harassment, intimidation, and bullying, in coordination with the building principal. The specialist will also chair the School Safety Team, whose purpose is to develop, foster and maintain a positive school climate. All of the schools in the district celebrate New Jersey’s Week of Respect, which takes place the first full week of October each year, and each school continues to provide programs throughout the school year in an effort to promote positive school climate.
Throughout the year, as students may be involved in possible incidents of harassment, intimidation, and bullying, our Anti-Bullying Specialists will conduct investigations: talking to students, observing classrooms and working with school staff to determine the nature of such incidents. If your child has been involved in an investigation, you will likely receive an initial phone call and a follow-up letter notifying you of the results of the investigation once it has been completed. Specific timelines exist to guide staff and administration in these endeavors.
We look forward to working together with students, parents and community members to make our schools safe, productive learning environments for all.
District Anti-Bullying Coordinator - Kevin Morra 464-1298 x. 1800Anti-Bullying Specialists:GLHS - Steve Siebelts, Chris Coughlin, Bob Segear, Deborah Velelis, Marissa Gold, Michelle Morin, and Carolyn Quigley.WW - Aida Swon- 464-1723 x 5335MPS - Heather Goldstein - 464-1713 x 4309TPH - Dr. Susan Tennant - 464-1298 x 1860MKMECC - Dr. Elizabeth Doerrbecker - 464-1298 x 1841