A law against bullying in schools, which advocates call the nation’s toughest because it requires schools to develop anti-harassment programs, was approved yesterday in New Jersey, says the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The state legislature send the measure to Gov. Chris Christie. The bill would require anti-bullying programs in public schools and language in college codes of conduct to address bullying. Schools would have to form teams to shape policies and review how bullying is handled.
The bill had been in the works for 10 months but gained attention after the suicide of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi in September. He killed himself after his roommate allegedly spied on his liaison with a man on a webcam. Clementi’s family said it welcomed the bill. Bullying of gay youth has gotten a lot of attention, but the bill pertains to students picked on for a number of reasons. “My vote today was for any child who has gone home in tears because he or she was bullied,” said state Sen. Diane Allen, a Republican, “and every parent who didn’t know what to do or who to contact.” Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, a Democrat, said she hopes the law will prevent suicides committed by bullying victims.