We Protects the Rights of Students Impacted by Bullying
Gone are the days when bullies hung out only around the school yard. Now, they are everywhere – in halls, classrooms and lunchrooms, extracurricular activities, the ball fields and even your child’s bedroom. You read that right. In fact, armed with a cell phone or other social media technology, your kid is likely carrying his bullies around with him in his pocket all day long.
If your child is being bullied, you must take action. Conversely, if you believe your child is being erroneously accused of being a bully, parental involvement is critical.
At Davis & Mendelson, we are passionate about protecting school children in Cherry Hill, Voorhees, Marlton and throughout Camden County, NJ. We know that whether the harassment is happening online, in school or in your neighborhood, bullying activity takes a severe and long-lasting toll on its victims. Being unfairly accused is equally detrimental. We will protect your children; call us today for a consultation.
How Bad is the Bullying Epidemic in New Jersey?
The New Jersey Commissioner of Education reports that bullying begins in the youngest of grades and gradually increases in scope and harm throughout middle school. While bullying and harassment may look different in the older grades, high schoolers are still victims of intimidation tactics by students and even teachers. In fact, here are some harrowing statistics regarding bullying in the United States:
- One-third of kids in grades six through 10 in the US have reported being bullied or are considered bullies
- In fact, one of our five students actually admit that they have bullied another student
- Smoking in the boy’s room? Not anymore. Now it’s all about harassment. In fact, 43 percent of kids surveyed say they are worried about being bullied when they head for the bathroom
- Fear is a huge problem; eight percent of respondents to the survey said they purposefully miss classes to avoid their bullies
Like it or not, these are real numbers and the problem is growing by the day in your child’s school. If you believe your kid is a victim of bullying in Cherry Hill, Voorhees or anywhere else in Camden County, call us today. We will put the HIB laws (harassment, intimidation and bullying) to work for your family.
HIB: New Jersey Anti-Bullying Law is Serious Business
New Jersey legislators and school officials take bullying very seriously. In fact, the final version of the NJ Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act was signed into Law by Gov. Chris Christie on Jan. 5, 2011. A year later, funding was made available for mandated teacher training to enforce the programs that seek to stamp out harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) in schools across Camden County and throughout New Jersey.
What is considered bullying? According to the Act, bullying is defined as: “any gesture, any written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication, whether it be a single incident or series of incidents… that substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students.”
The law goes on to say that, if a “reasonable person” would know that the actions being taken will have an emotionally or physically harmful effect on a person or property, the act could be considered “bullying.” This also covers the concept of “fear of harm,” meaning if someone if made to believe they will be hurt (even though there is no actual action taken) it can be considered bullying.
HIB procedures require all bullying incidents to be reported to school officials. There are requirements with regard to verbal and written notification of bullying activity. Investigations will be conducted in a timely manner, as set forth by the law. Discipline, counseling or other appropriate actions (including police intervention) will be swift in being determined after investigations are completed.
Attorneys in Hold Schools Responsible for their Handling of HIB Incidents in Voorhees, Cherry Hill and Across
In addition to describing what bullying behavior is and what will not be tolerated in New Jersey schools, the NJ Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act also directs local school boards of education to control district HIB policies. The Act dictates that activity classified as HIB is now cause for suspension or expulsion of a student under N.J.S.A. 18A:37-2. Additionally, there are minimum requirements for all districts regarding the process of reporting, investigating and punishing students who are found guilty of HIB activity.
Procedures for Reporting HIB Incidents: There is a strict timetable with regard to verbal and written notification of any HIB incident to the principal of the school. All witness accounts must be collected in a timely manner, as well. Parents must be informed about the alleged activity. Note: There are also guidelines in place that protect the privacy of the child being harassed. If these procedures are violated, you may have a case against the school.
Procedure for Investigation of HIB: Within one day of an incident being reported to the principal’s office, an investigation must begin. The investigation will be conducted by the school’s “anti-bullying specialist” with the principal’s assistance. Other school staff may be involved in the investigation as well. The entire process must be completed, including a full report on the incident, by the 10th day following the day the incident was reported to the principal.
Procedures for Imposing Discipline following HIB: There are a variety of ways a bullying can be disciplined: suspension, counseling, police intervention and more. Whatever action is taken must be in line with the district’s approved policy regarding HIB punishment.
If your child’s HIB case has not or is not being handled appropriately by your school district, you need the assistance of a someone who is seasoned and knowledgeable about education law. Attorney Howard Mendelson of Davis & Mendelson knows HIB laws and will fight for your child’s rights. He regularly appears before with Camden County school districts. Call us today to schedule a consultation.
Contact a Seasoned Camden County, NJ Education Lawyer Who Will Fight Tirelessly to Protect Your Child
Now you know the truth: sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can do much more harm to a child’s psyche and ability to function in school. If your child is showing signs consistent with being bullied – depression, angry outbursts, grades dropping, refusal to go to school or participate in activities – allow us to help you help them.
Contact our Voorhees, NJ office today to set up a consultation with a caring, experienced education advocacy lawyer at Davis & Mendelson. We are on your side.