NJ Lawmakers Want to Toughen Anti-Bullying Law

Monday, Oct 25, 2010  |  Updated 11:15 AM EDT
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NJ Lawmakers Want to Toughen Anti-Bullying Law

Tyler Clementi has become the face of anti-bullying campaigns.

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New Jersey lawmakers are introducing a proposed "anti-bullying bill of rights" to reform the state's anti-bullying law -- a move that gained steam following the highly-publicized suicide of a Rutger's University student who was teased for his sexual orientation.

     Authorities accused Tyler Clementi's roommate of broadcasting the 18-year-old freshman's gay sexual encounter online.  Clementi later jumped from the George Washington Bridge. His roommate and another student were charged with broadcasting his encounters.
    
That was perhaps the highest-profile case in a string of suicides by teenagers who were bullied because they were gay or perceived as being gay.

The proposed law comes just weeks after New York state introduced a new law requiring New York school districts to protect children against bullying because of their sexual orientation or weight.

It says schools should guard against those and other forms of discrimination and harassment, including ethnicity and disability. Sen. Thomas Duane, a Manhattan Democrat, said it's the first time protections for transgender students are "enshrined in New York state law.''

Gov. David Paterson signed the Dignity for All Students Act on Wednesday.

Among other things, it requires school districts to revise their codes of conduct. They also must adopt guidelines for employee sensitivity programs. At least one staff member in each school will be taught special instructional and counseling methods.

The new measure does not override existing laws or state regulations against discrimination.
 

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