[lg policy] North Jersey: Bullying, language and enrollment discussed at BOE meeting
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Wed Sep 28 14:38:05 UTC 2011
Bullying, language and enrollment discussed at BOE meeting
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
BY ANDREA HUGHES
The Item of Millburn and Short Hills
The Millburn Board of Education meeting on Sept. 26 was packed with
updates, from an explanation of the new anti-bullying policy to a
rundown of the latest district enrollment numbers.
Dan Brundage, the Program Chair at Millburn Middle School who was
recently appointed as the district's anti-bullying coordinator, gave a
presentation on the new laws dealing with harassment, intimidation and
bullying. All districts in the state must comply with the
Anti-bullying Bill of Rights, which Brundage said establishes clearer
standards for the definition of harassment, intimidation and bullying
According to Brundage, many of the consequences have stayed the same,
but the law requires incidents to be reported within a tight
timeframe. Verbal reports must be given to a principal or designee on
the same day, and a written report must be given within two days. An
investigation must be completed in 10 days after the written report.
Not all incidents that are reported will be classified as bullying.
"There is still a difference between conflict and HIB," Brundage
explained. Conflict, a normal part of growing up, is mutually
competitive, while in bullying, "one or more students are victims of
one or more person's aggressions."
In Millburn, all incidents of HIB will be reported through
PowerSchool, the online information system through which grades are
Board members and parents alike asked what the consequences would be
if an individual is aware of bullying but does not report it.
Brundage said there is confidentiality in place to encourage
reporting, but does not know of any consequences for not reporting.
Superintendent of Schools James Crisfield said, "This is an element of
the law that will have to evolve."
There was also some confusion over whether both parties involved in an
incident have to be Millburn school district students for the law to
be applied to their case.
Crisfield said if the student is on the district's rolls - even if
they are being educated out-of-district - the school is obligated to
investigate. If they are private school students, it is a police
Also, Brundage explained if the victim is a Millburn student and the
perpetrator is from out of district, the law can be used.
"We have to deal with anything that affects the students within our
district," he said.
More statistics on bullying will be available throughout the year, as
the new policy requires the superintendent to report the number of
incidents to the board twice a year.
A Week of Respect will be observed Oct. 3 to 7, and will feature
age-appropriate assemblies, lessons and activities revolving around
the theme of respect for others. Brundage will also hold parent
information nights on the new regulations within the coming weeks.
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