Christie Administration Announces School Anti-Bullying Grades
|For Immediate Release||Contact: Michael Yaple
|Date: Tuesday, March 4, 2014||609-292-1126|
Trenton, NJ – In coming weeks, parents throughout New Jersey will begin seeing an anti-bullying grade on their school district's website, under a new system required by state statute and implemented by the state Department of Education.
A provision in the state's Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act (NJSA 18A:17-46) requires the Commissioner of Education to develop a program to grade the efforts of each public school and school district to address bullying in the school environment.
In fulfilling its statutory obligation, the Department of Education (DOE) created a 20-page self-assessment form that each school completed to measure how well it met the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act. Each school's grade is a raw score from 0 to 75 (e.g., 65 of 75).
Each school's self-assessment grade must be posted on the school's website by March 18. The grade for the school district is calculated by averaging the grades of each school in the district and will be posted on the district website.
The self-assessment measured adherence to the anti-bullying law from Jan. 5, 2011 to June 30, 2013. Schools were provided a rubric to rate their performance in eight categories, including programs to prevent harassment, intimidation and bullying; staff training; student curriculum and instruction; proper staffing; and reporting and investigation procedures.
"We know that safe school environments are a crucial component of high-performing schools," said Education Commissioner Chris Cerf. "We have worked closely with districts on reducing bullying incidents and creating safer schools, and we are looking forward to continuing that process."
Throughout the process, local school officials have had the opportunity to provide input into the process, receive technical assistance from the DOE, and review their grades. The process included:
Local school boards are encouraged to use the results of the self-assessment to improve anti-bullying efforts. The DOE will use the data to guide the design of professional development and technical assistance for local school staff.
Now that all districts have completed and submitted their data, the Department is prepared to work with districts to promote accurate assessments as the program continues in the coming years.