Jersey City public schools begin the school year tomorrow, and many other districts in New Jersey are starting today. With the year beginning, the state’s new forceful and stringent Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights is in effect, and the LGBT group Garden State Equality has set up a new hotline to report bullying.
“If you know of an incident of a student being bullied, whether the student is gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, report the incident by calling 1-877-NJBULLY or texting NJBULLY to 66746,” the group says in an email. “We will help.”
Here in Jersey City, each school has devised its own method of how to collect and act on bullying complaints using the district’s anonymous reporting form. The district’s efforts have surpassed the minimum state requirements, with the February launch of the “Be Bold Ban Bullying” campaign.
“Our response to bullying must surpass the state requirement of merely implementing an anti-bullying policy and continuing to treat bullying simply as a disciplinary issue,” schools superintendent Charles Epps said in a January statement. “Our response must be unequivocal and all-encompassing. Anything less ignores the larger issue and puts our children and staff at risk.”
If you believe that a bullying victim is in immediate danger, contact the school’s principal or the JCPD (201-547-5477) immediately.
Photo: Ricardo Kaulessar
co-founder of the Jersey City Independent; he now works for a public-policy nonprofit in Trenton.