WEST ORANGE, NJ - As the Week of Respect in the West Orange School district, and around the state of New Jersey, continues, The Alternative Press of West Orange asked Cheryl Butler, HIB Coordinator for West Orange Public Schools and Director of Student Personnel Services/Guidance, to provide the number of HIB incidences reported in 2012-2013.
Prior to the establishment of the NJ HIB State Law and its Amendments, the West Orange School district provided information, curriculums and activities to promote tolerance and respect among the diverse student population.
Long considered a school district that helps to prepare students for the real global world issues of character, respect and tolerance, West Orange embraced the requirements of New Jersey's HIB laws as each school prepared curriculum for the state-wide "Week of Respect" from Oct. 7-11.
What constitutes an HIB complaint in the State of New Jersey?
According to the New Jersey State Department of Education, as it pertains to the state's Anti-Bullying Law, HIB is:
Any gesture, any written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication, whether it be a single incident or series of incidents, that:
Is reasonably perceived as being motivated by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical or sensory disability, or by any other distinguishing characteristic; and
Takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function, or off school grounds as provided for in N.J.S.A. 18A:37-15.3; and Substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students, and that:
A reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, will have the effect of physically or emotionally harming a student or damaging the student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his person or damage to his property; or
Has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students; or
Creates a hostile educational environment for the student by interfering with a student’s education or by severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm to the student.
Between 2012-2013, the West Orange Public School student population was close to 6,800 students. Here are the numbers for documented Harrassment, Intimidation and Bullying in the West Orange School District for 2012-2013:
Gregory School: 4 incidents
Hazel School: 2 incidents
Mt. Pleasant: No incidents
Pleasantdale: 6 incidents
Redwood: 1 incident
St. Cloud: 1 incident
Washington: 3 incidents
Edison: 1 incident
Liberty: 13 incidents
Roosevelt: 10 incidents
West Orange High School: 6 incidents
Total incidents in West Orange Public Schools 2012-2013: 47
What happens once an HIB complaint is filed by a student or parent?
Anti-bullying specialist investigates the report, which must begin within one day of the complaint being filed.
The investigation must be completed within 10 days of the written report. Information is reported to the Parents, principals, superintendent, district HIB coordinator and Board of Education.
Within five days of discussion with the superintendent's report to the school board, parents are provided with with information from the investigation.
Discipline and action plans are determined during the process for students and parents have a right to appeal the decisions.
If children or parents are concerned about possible issues of harassment,iIndimidation or bullying, contact your child's principal or school anti-bullying specialist. Visit the New Jersey State Department of Education to view a Parent Tutorial on The Anti-bullying Bill of Rights