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Do Madison and Chatham Need Anti-Bullying Law?

Some say districts can achieve the same goals without the bureaucracy of expense of the law.

In October 2011, one month after the Anti-Bullying law went into effect, it was good schools were becoming more proactive.

Three months later a because it was an unfunded mandate, and taxpayers carried the burden of financing the law's requirements of training, paperwork, investigations and hearings.

The ruling goes into effect in less than two months, but , school districts have nothing to do but wait and see.

The anti-bullying law was sparked by the 2010 suicide of a Rutgers University freshman, Tyler Clementi, whose roommate allegedly used a webcam to video him with another man. When it was signed into law in January 2010, it was . It requires extensive reporting to administration and school boards, for incidents that take place both in and out of school.

"We all believe that safe, non-threatening, and inclusive learning environments are essential to student learning," Michael LaSusa, the assistant superintendent for the , said, "but this law is overly prescriptive and bureaucratic in nature. If anything, it has made it more difficult for us to deal with potential acts of bullying and harassment because it dictates every step of the process in a way that fails to take into account the specific dynamics of each situation."

How necessary is the law to providing a safe environment in Madison and Chatham schools? In this prolonged economic downturn, how much should local residents bear when it comes to funding state mandates?

Madison and Chatham parents, we want to hear from you: Do our school districts need the anti-bullying law?

Ed February 01, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Why is our Gov. Christy holding this up ?
Josephine S. Pico February 02, 2012 at 04:11 PM
I agree with Coleen......I don't know what good a specific law would be if no one is cognizant about what it incorporates.....but I do believe that students and teachers should have rules and guidelines dealing with bullying, so that students do not feel alone and unable to cope with the situation......it is sad and often dangerous to ignore the fact that bullying is an everyday occurrence in most schools...........
middle schooler February 16, 2012 at 12:58 AM
No!!! People lie about bullying, and say that they are being bullied. This then causes a kid to get into trouble who didn't do anything. This would then cause a kid to actually bully. It's not fair to be accused of bullying when you didn't do anything.
Madison Cyclist February 16, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Good point. The definition of HIB under the current law is pretty vague. It can be applied inconsistently. Worst case scenario: it's possible for a bully to accuse his victim of being a bully themselves. In the rush to get this law enacted Huttle and Buono were oblivious to the risk of false accusations. Even if the state manages to fund this mandate, once these cases start hitting the courts this law will be heading in to the tank. It's a mess.
Hello March 09, 2012 at 03:04 PM
I agree with middle schooler. The high school has become a place where kids are afraid to say something that might be construed as a threat or that could be considered bullying. There have been tons of times when kids have either made up stories, or parents have completely overreacted to something that they had no idea about. A good example is the Chatham High School Pep Rally. The senior class got in trouble for supposedly "harrasing" the underclassmen, when this was completely untrue. None of the seniors were even close to the underclassmen and frankly did not want to be, and yet they still got the blame for bullying.

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