The long arm of ed law

First came the healthy
school-lunch campaign
, the sex-ed
, the gay-history
, and the environmental-literacy
(to name just a few)—all noble pursuits for individual schools
usurped by state and federal policymakers. Today marks a milestone in another
such campaign, as New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights—understood to be the
most stringent in the land—goes into effect. The law requires schools to create
safety teams, allocate professional-development time for anti-bullying
trainings, and assign an “anti-bullying specialist.” (Each district must find itself
an “anti-bullying coordinator” as well.) Though Gadfly’s past admonishments
seem to have fallen on deaf ears on this front, he’ll clear his throat and aver
louder: Schools—and the parents of the children educated therein—should toil to
create a positive school culture, free from schoolyard intimidation and classroom
harassment. Efforts of this nature should not be mandated by the state; legislative
arms cannot protect students from that height—no matter how long they are.

Click to play

Click to listen to commentary on bullying from the Education Gadfly Show podcast

Law Puts New Jersey Schools on Spot
,” by Winnie Hu, New York Times, August 30, 2011.