WAYNE, NJ – Each year, public schools across New Jersey are required to publicly report compliance with the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act. Individual schools must complete an annual self-assessment report and this past school year, the Wayne School District, as a whole averaged a score of 76.21 out of 78.
Dr. Mark Toback, the Superintendent of Wayne Schools reported the district’s 2019 – 2020 score during a brief presentation at last week’s Wayne Board of Education meeting, which is required by the NJ Department of Education.
“Schools must evaluate performance in eight core areas, or elements,” said Toback.
- HIB* programs, approaches or other initiatives
- Training on the Board of Education approved HIB policy
- Other staff instruction and training programs
- Curriculum and instruction on HIB and related information and skills
- HIB personnel
- School level HIB incident reporting procedures
- HIB investigation procedures and
- HIB recording
* HIB = Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying
“This year our district average was a grade of 76.21, which is a new seven-year high for the district and continues our upward trend in assessing our response to HIB incidents,” said Toback proudly.
The Superintendent believes this upward trend is “largely due” to the hard work of each school’s anti-bullying specialists, administrators and teachers who “take a proactive approach to supporting our students, and actions to stop bullying.” He called it “a group effort across the district.”
Toback then read off the score for each school, specifically pointing out that Lafayette Elementary scored a perfect 78. This is the second year in a row that Lafayette had a perfect score and only the third time in six years that any Wayne public school reported a perfect score (Anthony Wayne Middle School scored a 78 in 2017 – 2018).
Theunis Dey Elementary leads the Wayne schools with a six-year average score of 76.67, while Wayne Valley High School, owns the district’s lowest six-year average with a 72.17, which is still considered a great score.
“Thank you to all the counselors, administrators, and again, to our teachers who work tirelessly to combat bullying and to ensure our schools are a safe, welcoming and positive environment for all of our students,” Toback said in conclusion.
Wayne Board of Education President, Cathy Kazan is also proud of the district’s scores. “We take our mandate of keeping schools safe for everyone very seriously,” she said. “These scores reflect our efforts and our commitment to that mandate. On behalf of the entire Board, I would like to say that we are very proud of the staff at all of our schools for maintaining these high standards.”
For more information on how each school is rated in each category, visit the Wayne School’s No Place For Hate website here.
In a letter to the community posted on the No Place for Hate website, Toback wrote: “The Wayne Township Public Schools believe that students thrive academically, socially and personally when they feel safe and respected, no matter their background or beliefs. We are committed to fostering a culture free from bias, bullying and name-calling, where students feel empowered to embrace diversity in themselves and in others.”
From the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act: P.L.2010, CHAPTER 122 16 (3) A definition of harassment, intimidation, or bullying that at a minimum includes any gesture, any written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication, whether it be a single incident or a series of incidents, 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 disability, or by any other distinguishing characteristic, that takes place on the property of the institution of higher education or at any function sponsored by the institution of higher education, that substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the institution or the rights of other students and that:
(a) a reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, will have the effect of physically or emotionally harming a student or damaging the student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his person or damage to his property;
(b) has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students; or
(c) creates a hostile educational environment for the student by interfering with a student’s education or by severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm to the student.