Anti-Bullying Bill Passes NJ Assembly

Gay activists share their stories in Trenton

The New Jersey Star-Ledger reported this morning that the state’s “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights” cleared the assembly and senate education committees this week. If passed by the full senate and governor, it will grant New Jersey the most comprehensive anti-bullying law in the country, requiring teachers and administrators to review complaints and learn how to pinpoint and prevent bullying in public schools. Those who do not comply will face discipline.

According to the paper, the bill would piggyback on a law enacted eight years ago that has since been under a microscope after first-year Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi committed suicide after his homosexual experiences were exposed online.

Garden State Equality, one of the major proponents of the new bill, is counting on continuing bipartisan support for the anti-bullying measure with 28 senators and 46 assembly members signed on as co-sponsors.

The group’s chairman Steven Goldstein shared his own experiences being bullied as a young gay man, while New Jersey students, like openly gay 15-year-old Corey Bernstein, described his school experience as a “living hell,” according to the Star-Ledger. The New Jersey ACLU also backs the measure.

Other groups, including New Jersey Family First, oppose the bill.