The long arm of ed law
First came the healthy school-lunch campaign, the sex-ed campaign, the gay-history campaign, and the environmental-literacy campaign (to name just a few)—all noble pursuits for individual schools usurped by state and federal policymakers. Today marks a milestone in another such campaign, as New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights—understood to be the most stringent in the land—goes into effect. The law requires schools to create safety teams, allocate professional-development time for anti-bullying trainings, and assign an “anti-bullying specialist.” (Each district must find itself an “anti-bullying coordinator” as well.) Though Gadfly’s past admonishments seem to have fallen on deaf ears on this front, he’ll clear his throat and aver louder: Schools—and the parents of the children educated therein—should toil to create a positive school culture, free from schoolyard intimidation and classroom harassment. Efforts of this nature should not be mandated by the state; legislative arms cannot protect students from that height—no matter how long they are.
|Click to listen to commentary on bullying from the Education Gadfly Show podcast
“Bullying Law Puts New Jersey Schools on Spot,” by Winnie Hu, New York Times, August 30, 2011.
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