Childhood bullying has probably been around the entirety of human existence. Children who are bullied by their peers may fear for their safety, develop anxiety and depression disorders and have difficulty concentrating in school. Bullying is especially significant in modern times due to social media and the Internet having such a strong impact on students’ lives. Not only can New Jersey students be bullied in school, but the harmful behavior can continue anytime as their tormentors harass them online.
New Jersey’s lawmakers have recognized the ongoing prevalence of bullying and its concerning ability to impact children’s mental and physical health. According to NJ.com, the state’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act makes it mandatory for all New Jersey public school districts to adopt anti-bullying policies pertaining to school property, functions sponsored by schools and on school buses. Schools must also develop procedures to investigate and handle acts of bullying. Additionally, Mallory’s Law, introduced this year, proposes to make parents or guardians of minors guilty of harassment civilly liable.
Statistics point to the necessity of anti-bullying legislation. A study by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education revealed that about 20% of students between the ages of 12 and 18 said they had been bullied at school, and 41% believed it would happen again. Parents may protect their children by becoming familiar with their schools’ policies regarding student harassment, intimidation and violence, and by communicating often with their children about what is happening with their peers. It is also important for parents to discuss with their children the importance of being kind and of reporting to a trusted adult when they think a fellow student may be the victim of bullying.