Students in East Hanover, N.J., have a new way to fight back against an age-old tormentor — the school yard bully: Report him — or her — to the sheriff, says the Newark Star-Ledger. As part of a statewide crackdown spurred by the legislature, many schools began the fall session by tackling their bullying problems in new ways. In East Hanover, children can bypass the principal's office and go straight to law enforcement — reporting school bullies to a CrimeStoppers program run by the county sheriff's office.
At Liberty Middle School in West Orange, students can use a small mailbox in the hallway to leave a note if they think a classmate may have bullied another. In the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District, a “harassment, intimidation and bullying” form is available online for anyone — students, staff members or others — to report an incident of suspected bullying. After the high-profile suicide of a former Rutgers University freshman last year, and other well-publicized student suicides, the issue of bullying in schools has become a national concern. Anti-bullying ad campaigns have sprung up. The “It Gets Better Project,” started to support gay and lesbian youth — who are frequent bullying victims — created a series of online videos. States, including New Jersey, began addressing the issue legislatively. A new state law, called the “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights,” requires school officials to combat incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying. Included are those that occur off school grounds — even online — if they “substantially disrupt or interfere with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students.”