NJ Legislature Approves Tougher Bullying Law

TRENTON, N.J. (AP/WCBS 880/CBS 2/1010 WINS) — New Jersey lawmakers signed off Monday on what could be the toughest anti-bullying law in the nation, and it passes exactly two months after Rutgers student Tyler Clementi committed suicide.

There were hugs and tears in the New Jersey State Senate as the tough anti-bullying bill was approved, reports CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

For the Otto family, it is personal after their son endured years of bullying because he is gay.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

“We were very fortunate, because our son did come home and told me,” Kim Otto said. “He told me, and I was able to get him immediate help.”

While the bill isn’t named after Clementi, he was on the minds of many, including Matt Zimmer, who went to Ridgewood High School with him.

“I just started crying as soon as he passed away,” Zimmer said. “It was crazy that there’s not just bullying in school, there’s also cyber-bullying, and it’s everywhere.”

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports

Zimmer said he was taunted for years for being gay himself, and that his school administration turned its back on him.

“I had a teacher ask me if I’d come out in front of my class,” Zimmer said.

Zimmer, now a freshman in college, has been going to school online.

Related Audio: WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau on a cyberbullying conference in Hartford

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainier Huttle sponsored the bill. She said the legislation, if signed into law, would create awareness programs in all of New Jersey’s public schools. It would also force counselors to send reports of complaints about bullying to superintendents and school boards.

“It sets a policy of safety teams throughout the schools,” she said. “After all, 160,000 kids are afraid to go to school today.”

While the sponsor of the bill said Governor Chris Christie will sign the bill into law, no one at his office would confirm that with CBS 2 on Monday.

The bill would also require school districts to train teacher to spot bullying incidents that may not be reported.

More from Christine Sloan
  • notsocommonsense

    i think that parents are much more relaxed with their children today and allow them to become bullies. nothing cant be disciplined. and what idiot can be so cold as to say “suck it up, bullying is all in your head its not real.” how about you step into tyler’s shoes or that girl who killed herself on facebook, megan. how about you get depressed because of the way you are. i think you would change your perspective. honestly, almost thousands of teens attempt suicide on a daily basis. think before you speak.

  • Mohammed

    I married a woman and now she refuses to do her womanly chores. Am I a victim of domestic bullying? What should I do?

  • Sally Boy

    My kid is 6. He’s a very sweet, loving boy and would never hurt a fly but I have instilled in him if a kid much bigger than you picks on you , pick up the nearest chair and crack him over the head.

  • Aisha

    Yes, I agree that parents have to take a stance and protect their children. Bullies also need psychological evaluation and counseling to overcome this insecured behavior. You would find that most bullies are either abused or suffer from neglect from their homes.

  • Detroit

    It’s unfortunate we have to have laws to substitute for parenting. My daughter got called a name ONE time from a boy at school and I got on Facebook and told him if I heard of one more instance, he would see me on his porch. They are now friends. If your kids are in a situation where they can’t protect themselves, it’s your JOB as a parent to step in.

  • Tom Witzgall

    The ONLY way to stop a bully is to prove to him that he is not invincible-that he can be beaten too. I’m in favor of legally being able to inflict physical injury on the bully which would permanently disable him. I’ve known too many of them in my time, some of them I keep track of to this day. Are you reading this, Peter E. Gillett?

  • Robert Senn

    instead of making it a law maybe the parents should try to take a little responce ability in there childrens life

  • Common Sense

    whatever happened to sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me. Stop being a sissy and suck it up, bullying is all in your head its nor real

    • lkjlkj

      words do hurt, you are obviously an idiot just like the guy who invented this phrase

  • FTC

    What about bullying at the work place???

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