Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, the lead sponsor of New Jersey's landmark Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights law, on Monday welcomed the latest statistics that show a significant decline in bullying incidents throughout New Jersey schools.
"These numbers show that the law is working. The culture and climate of schools are changing. Students know they are accountable now and I think that is making a difference," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen).
Vainieri Huttle noted that while schools saw a roughly 50 percent increase in reported bullying incidents during the first year of the law's enactment, the latest statistics show that incidents decreased by roughly 40 percent in the second year. While there were more than 35,500 bullying incidents reported and investigated in the 2011-2012 school year, that number dropped to nearly half in the 2012-2013 school year, with 21,934 investigations.
"School districts have an obligation to report what is happening in their schools. I hope that these numbers reflect an actual decrease in bullying coupled with a better understanding of what constitutes 'HIB' and age-appropriate conflict."
However, the Assemblywoman intends to continue monitoring the law's implementation to ensure that schools' self-reporting system is accurate.