New Jersey Anti-Bullying Task Force Releases 2023 State Report 

The Gold Dome.

Trenton, NJ – The Task Force report highlights an alarming increase in HIB incidents reported since the last Task Force convened in 2016 and calls attention to the need for dedicated funding, increased training, increased student and staff support and addressing school climate and culture to foster welcoming inclusive safe schools for all New Jersey students.

The current Task Force was established as part of an amendment to the ABR and convened from June 2023 – December 2023 in order to study and evaluate the current implementation of the “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act.” and provide a report with-in 180 days of convening. The report provides an overview of Task Force activities, as well as our findings and recommendations over the past six months. The report was formally submitted to Governor Phillip J. Murphy, Legislature, and the Commissioner of Education in accordance with the requirements under the law.

The Task Force in reviewing available HIB trends since 2016, noted that during the most recent available data ending with the 2021-2022 school year, an alarming 7,672 incidents of HIB were confirmed, while a staggering number of 19,138 investigations were reported. Since the last Task Force report, current available state data reviewed indicates the highest ever levels of HIB reported since the state began collecting information.

The Task Force heard from stakeholders and received testimony from school staff, students, parents, and caregivers that also expressed an increase in hate speech and bias based incidents both online and offline impacting classrooms and school communities across the State.

The Task Force also heard from our Focus Groups repeatedly about the need for direct funding to address school climate and culture, student mental health and wellness, and effective implementation of the ABR.

“We must work to ensure all students,especially our most marginalized students, feel safe, valued, welcomed, and treated with dignity and respect across our K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and in our communities,” said Shannon Cuttle, Chairperson, Anti-Bullying Task Force. “We all have a responsibility to ensure welcoming, inclusive, safe schools for all students, staff, and families in New Jersey. We need to combat hurtful and harmful narratives, hate speech, bias and HIB and address misinformation and disinformation that lead to further harm. Reevaluating and strengthening school climate is critical so as to not foster school climates in which students may be subjected to messages of othering, saying in effect ‘you don’t belong here’, or ‘you don’t exist.’ ”

“This report supports the findings of the previous Task Force and again focuses on the proactive approach to HIB prevention – the creation of the types of school climate where HIB is less likely to occur,” said Patrica Wright, Former Chairperson, Anti-Bullying Task Force. “It is time for the legislature to provide meaningful funding so that schools have the needed professional staff and resources to carry out the mandates to the legislation.”

View the 2023 Task Force report here.

 

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One response to “New Jersey Anti-Bullying Task Force Releases 2023 State Report ”

  1. More waste of taxpayers’ monies task forces that accomplish nothing. Bullying is still a problem and getting worse in schools, despite what a task force say. The object of the purported task forces is to see how much money the government can throw into these failing programs in order to increase the size of the government bureaucrazy.

    Bullying would stop if we got rid of such faux programs as transgender programs and the like. Also, enforcing bullying policies in the schools rather than sweeping them under the rug or doing nothing about bullying, unless, of course, a student beats a teacher to a pulp, should be handled by law enforcement. Schools are ill-equipped to handle bullying issues. They are only equipped to ask for more money to throw at a problem they can’t correct.

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