Education Law Center has released the latest addition to our advocacy guide series: Litigating Under the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, A Guide for Advocates. The release is one of the “Know Your Rights” guides ELC publishes to provide comprehensive information and tools for advocates working to safeguard and protect the education rights of public school students.
This publication is designed to educate both parents and attorneys on key provisions of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights (ABR), including amendments to the law since its original 2002 enactment, caselaw interpreting the statute, and procedures for bringing legal claims under the ABR.
A recent report from the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Task Force recorded the alarming increase in HIB incidents following the lifting of COVID school closures and the quadrupling of bias-based incidents in schools from 2018 through 2023 (with a 400% increase in the latter since 2015). In fact, with 19,138 investigations undertaken and 7,672 incidents of harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB) confirmed in New Jersey schools during the 2021-22 school year, New Jersey’s HIB incident reports are currently at their highest level since the state began collecting this data.
“A safe and supportive school environment is a critical precondition to effective learning and school success but has not yet been achieved in all New Jersey schools for all students,” said Elizabeth Athos, ELC Senior Attorney for Educational Equity. “We hope that this publication will move the ball towards that goal by enhancing public knowledge of student rights and district obligations under the ABR.”
“ELC is very grateful to private attorney Matthew Stoloff for initiating this project, producing the first draft, and consulting along the way, and equally thankful to our own incredible team for their extensive contributions and updates,” added Ms. Athos. “While the publication focuses on HIB cases, it also provides valuable insight into the process for bringing controversies and disputes before the Commissioner under school law.”
In addition to this HIB publication, ELC’s Advocacy Guide Series includes: The Right to Special Education; Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities; Understanding Public School Residency Requirements; Student Discipline Rights and Procedures; Education Rights of Homeless Students; and Education Rights of Children in Foster Care.
The IOLTA Fund of the Bar of New Jersey provides support for ELC’s Advocacy Guide Series.
Director of Policy, Strategic Partnerships and Communications