TRENTON— A tough anti-bullying bill on Monday cleared both houses of the N.J. Legislature and is now headed to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk for approval, according The Star-Ledger.
Sponsors of the “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights” say the recent slew of suicides by LGBT youth caused by anti-gay bullying convinced lawmakers to act quickly in moving the legislation forward.
Backers of the bill say its passage would make N.J.’s statute against bullying the strictest in the nation. The measure fills in gaps in the state’s 2002 anti-gay bullying law: It mandates schools to organize anti-bullying programs, requires in-depth training on the subject for most public school employees, and necessitates revisions to policies of public universities that fail to address bullying in their code of conduct.
“This bill reflects the public’s increased awareness of the need for a renewal of values of respect for human dignity and personal privacy, particularly for young people in this time of rapidly evolving technology,” the family of Tyler Clementi—the Rutgers student who committed suicide after an encounter with another young man was broadcast on the Internet by classmates—said in a statement.
The Star-Ledger wrote that the legislation passed the Assembly 71-1, with five abstentions, and 30-0 in the Senate. A spokesperson for Gov. Christie did not indicate the governor’s stance on the bill, but said Christie would “review it closely” given the speed with which it passed the state legislature. bullied — that this will not be tolerated,” Kim Otto said.