TRENTON – New Jersey schools will see $1 million in state money made available for the remainder of the fiscal year to establish and fund bullying prevention programs under a bill that cleared the Assembly today by a 72-2 vote with three abstentions.
The bill comes two months after the Council on Local Mandates ruled that the state’s anti-bullying program was an unfunded mandate.
Schools will be able to apply to the New Jersey Department of Education for a portion of the $1 million for a grant after exploring bully prevention programs and approaches that are available to the district at no cost.
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37), Englewood, is the sponsor of A2709.
The bill also establishes a seven-member Anti-Bullying Task Force in the Department of Education, comprised of members who have knowledge of the legal, policy, educational, social, or psychological aspects of bullying in public schools.
In the Appropriations Committee, the bill received opposition from the New Jersey Coalition to Preserve and Protect Marriage and New Jersey Family First, disagreeing with how the bill would be administered.
The New Jersey School Boards Association and New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association supported the bill, saying it would cover district costs and provide a safe learning environment.