The Fair Lawn (N.J.) School District will receive $4,283 to assist with addressing the state’s anti-bullying law.
"That’s it," said Superintendent of Schools Bruce Watson at the June 26 Board of Education meeting.
In response to questions from board members, Watson said the district is not expecting any additional funds for the state-mandated Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) Prevention program.
The state made $1 million available to be split among school districts to implement the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act. The act went into effect at the start of the 2011 school year. The law contains several initiatives for school districts to follow aimed at preventing bullying and educating students.
In January the state Council on Local Mandates determined that the law contained unfunded mandates after several school districts filed complaints. The legislature was given 60 days to remedy the law or risk it being invalidated. The solution was to make funding available for districts to apply for reimbursement of expenditures incurred only for the time period of July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012 related to the new law.
"I’m extremely pleased with this solution because at the end of the day, the law has not changed, which means that our goal of protecting the countless students who are at the mercy of bullies day in and day out remains intact," said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), one of the lead sponsors of the law.
The law provided a strong definition of bullying, it also gave schools time frames in which to report incidents of bullying and required schools to develop plans to outline how they will address it. Training was required for teachers and administrators to identify and respond to bullying.