New Jersey has a School
2002 New Jersey Laws, AB 1874, Requires each school district to adopt a
policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation or bullying on school
property, at a school-sponsored function or on a school bus. The policy
must include a definition of bullying behavior, consequences for engaging
in such behavior, a procedure for investigation of reports of such
behavior, a statement prohibiting retaliation or reprisal against persons
reporting bullying behavior and consequences for making a false
accusation. Requires school employees, students or volunteers to report
any incidents of bullying, intimidation and harassment to appropriate
school officials. Grants immunity from any cause of action for damages
arising from a failure to remedy the reported incident to persons
reporting these incidents.
SENATE COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR SENATE, Nos.
149 and 729
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
ADOPTED MAY 30, 2002
Sponsored by: Senator BARBARA BUONO, District 18 (Middlesex); Senator
DIANE ALLEN District 7 (Burlington and Camden); Senator ANTHONY R. BUCCO,
District 25 (Morris); Senator ROBERT W. SINGER District 30 (Burlington,
Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean). Co-Sponsored by: Senators Cafiero, Baer,
Ciesla, Coniglio, B.Smith, Turner, Vitale, Sweeney, Codey and Palaia
SYNOPSIS - Requires school districts to adopt harassment and bullying
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Substitute as adopted by the Senate Education Committee.
(Sponsorship Updated As Of: 6/25/2002)
An Act concerning the adoption of harassment and bullying prevention
policies by public school districts and supplementing chapter 37 of Title
18A of the New Jersey Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New
1. The Legislature finds and declares that: a safe and civil environment
in school is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic
standards; harassment, intimidation or bullying, like other disruptive or
violent behaviors, is conduct that disrupts both a student's ability to
learn and a school's ability to educate its students in a safe
environment; and since students learn by example, school administrators,
faculty, staff, and volunteers should be commended for demonstrating
appropriate behavior, treating others with civility and respect, and
refusing to tolerate harassment, intimidation or bullying.
2. As used in this act:
"Harassment, intimidation or bullying" means any gesture or
written, verbal or physical act that is reasonably perceived as being
motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race,
color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation,
gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical or sensory handicap,
or by any other distinguishing characteristic, that takes place on school
property, at any school-sponsored function or on a school bus and that:
a. a reasonable person should know, under the
circumstances, will have the effect of harming a student or damaging the
student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to his
person or damage to his property; or
b. has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student
or group of students in such a way as to cause substantial disruption in,
or substantial interference with, the orderly operation of the school.
3. a. Each school district shall adopt a policy prohibiting harassment,
intimidation or bullying on school property, at a school-sponsored
function or on a school bus. The school district shall attempt to adopt
the policy through a process that includes representation of parents or
guardians, school employees, volunteers, students, administrators, and
b. A school district shall have local control over the
content of the policy, except that the policy shall contain, at a minimum,
the following components:
(1) a statement prohibiting
harassment, intimidation or bullying of a student;
(2) a definition of harassment,
intimidation or bullying no less inclusive than that set forth in section
2 of this act;
(3) a description of the type
of behavior expected from each student;
(4) consequences and
appropriate remedial action for a person who commits an act of harassment,
intimidation or bullying;
(5) a procedure for reporting
an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying, including a provision that
permits a person to report an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying
anonymously; however, this shall not be construed to permit formal
disciplinary action solely on the basis of an anonymous report;
(6) a procedure for prompt
investigation of reports of violations and complaints, identifying either
the principal or the principal's designee as the person responsible for
(7) the range of ways in which
a school will respond once an incident of harassment, intimidation or
bullying is identified;
(8) a statement that prohibits
reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of
harassment, intimidation or bullying and the consequence and appropriate
remedial action for a person who engages in reprisal or retaliation;
(9) consequences and
appropriate remedial action for a person found to have falsely accused
another as a means of retaliation or as a means of harassment,
intimidation or bullying; and
(10) a statement of how the
policy is to be publicized, including notice that the policy applies to
participation in school-sponsored functions.
c. A school district shall adopt a policy and transmit
a copy of its policy to the appropriate county superintendent of schools
by September 1, 2003.
d. To assist school districts in developing policies
for the prevention of harassment, intimidation or bullying, the
Commissioner of Education shall develop a model policy applicable to
grades kindergarten through 12. This model policy shall be issued no later
than December 1, 2002.
e. Notice of the school district's policy shall appear
in any publication of the school district that sets forth the
comprehensive rules, procedures and standards of conduct for schools
within the school district, and in any student handbook.
4. a. A school employee, student or volunteer shall not engage in
reprisal, retaliation or false accusation against a victim, witness or one
with reliable information about an act of harassment, intimidation or
b. A school employee, student or volunteer who has
witnessed, or has reliable information that a student has been subject to,
harassment, intimidation or bullying shall report the incident to the
appropriate school official designated by the school district's policy.
c. A school employee who promptly reports an incident
of harassment, intimidation or bullying, to the appropriate school
official designated by the school district's policy, and who makes this
report in compliance with the procedures in the district's policy, is
immune from a cause of action for damages arising from any failure to
remedy the reported incident.
5. a. Schools and school districts are encouraged to establish bullying
prevention programs, and other initiatives involving school staff,
students, administrators, volunteers, parents, law enforcement and
b. To the extent funds are appropriated for these
purposes, a school district shall: (1) provide training on the school
district's harassment, intimidation or bullying policies to school
employees and volunteers who have significant contact with students; and
(2) develop a process for discussing the district's harassment,
intimidation or bullying policy with students.
c. Information regarding the school district policy
against harassment, intimidation or bullying shall be incorporated into a
school's employee training program.
6. This act shall not be interpreted to prevent a victim from seeking
redress under any other available law either civil or criminal. This act
does not create or alter any tort liability.
7. A school district that incurs additional costs due to the
implementation of the provisions of this act shall apply to the
Commissioner of Education for reimbursement.
8. This act shall take effect immediately.