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Teachers, Police Gather In AC For Bullying Conference [AUDIO]

Stacy Proebstle, Townsquare Media

It’s been in effect since September 1st of this year, so how is New Jersey’s new anti-bullying legislation working so far?

Hundreds of educators and law enforcement officials from across the state came together in Atlantic City for the 8th annual statewide conference on youth safety to discuss the impact of the new law.

Mark Johnson, assistant principal at Hackensack High School and the district’s anti-bullying coordinator, says one of the challenges with the new system is figuring out everyone’s responsibilities. “what roles do administrators play, what roles do parents play, the responsibilites came with no money as and then no clarity on how this is going to impact your normal job.”

Stacy Proebstle, Townsquare Media

Despite a few bumps in the road, Johnson says the district is making great strides. “We have been scrambling in some sense to try and get a snapshot of the data to make sure we are following these steps and having assemblies and speeches to make sure students are aware of what’s available to them.”

Johnson says the anti-bullying bill is more about educating and supporting the victim, the bullies and the bystanders. “From an educator’s perspective, I want to keep students safe, stop suicides, stop kids from harming themselves.”

Hopefully we can keep our kids safe and try to combat bullying and work together as a team, police and educators, because that lack of communication has been an obstacle in the past,” said Officer Keith Halley of the West Orange Police Dept.

With an increase in tips being reported, Johnson says that shows that the program has been a success so far, “it proves that our education is working, students are recognizing that they are being intimidated, harassed or bullied and they know who they can go to for help.”

New Jersey’s anti-bullying program is now the toughest in the nation.

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