LIVINGSTON, NJ - The Livingston Board of Education met Monday to discuss the problem of bullying in school districts and potential measures to curtail such actions. The discussion was held in the context of the state guidelines provided by New Jersey's Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act. The bill was signed by Governor (and Livingston High School alumnus) Chris Christie in January of 2011. According to Bully Police U.S.A., an independent watchdog group, the New Jersey law improves over past efforts by mandating specific deadlines to report incidents, as well as complete protection for all students.
According to the district self-assessment, Livingston Public Schools continue to exceed state expectations in this area. A press release provided by the district's Manager of Communications Marilyn Lehrer described the eight core elements that the self-assessment is designed to address:
- Core Element #1: HIB (Harassment, Intimidation & Bullying) Programs, Approaches or Other Initiatives
- Core Element #2: Training on the BOE-Approved HIB Policy
- Core Element #3: Other Staff Instruction and Training Programs
- Core Element #4: Curriculum and Instruction on HIB & Related Information& Skills
- Core Element #5: HIB Personnel
- Core Element #6: School-Level HIB Incident Reporting Procedure
- Core Element #7: HIB Investigation Procedure
- Core Element #8: HIB Reporting
In addition to addressing specific instances of bullying, the core elements are also designed to improve "school climates, school culture and other conditions that may negatively affect student learning and growth."
"In my opinion, the law is only as effective as its implementation" new Superintendent Dr. John Alfieri said. According to Assistant Superintendent Larry Russell, 67 percent compliance with the eight core elements is expected by the New Jersey Department of Education. As of the latest self-assessment, all schools in the Livingston district are operating at above 80 percent compliance. Of particular note are Burnet Hill Elementary (97.3 percent) and Riker Hill Elementary (92 percent).