Parental Advocacy Group, Safe Havens Will Be Created
New bullying term in the district: 'You're autistic.'
The Wayne Board of Education discussed forming a parent advocacy group and safe havens in every school to combat bullying in the district at last night’s public meeting.
“I’ve had a lot of parents e-mail and call me about some horrible stories in our school district and they revolve around children that are perceived to be different by other children,” board President Robert Ceberio said. “Children which they isolate, children which they ridicule, children that they reject, children that they even physically abuse anywhere from robbing their lockers to knocking books off their desks to taking their pocket books and emptying them all over the floor.
“I had a parent call me up this week and say that we have a new bullying term that is being used: You’re autistic.”
Ceberio discussed creating a parent advocacy group that would speak on the behalf of students who have been bullied.
“If you hear it from the parents it may make a big difference; it makes a good sounding board,” Ceberio said. “It relieves the pressure at home.”
Safe havens would be designated in every educational institution. Children could stay in these safe havens during lunch and recess, which Ceberio said is typically when bullying is at its worst, without worrying about being bullied.
“They need to know there is somewhere safe to go,” Ceberio said.
Ceberio encouraged Josh Marks, Wayne Valley’s student representative on the board, to discuss bullying at the school’s next student council meeting and to speak up for bullying victims. Sparks said he would do so. Wayne Hills' student representative was not present at the meeting.
Governor Chris Christie signed legislation establishing the state's first Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights earlier this month.
The bill requires teachers, administrators and board of education members to receive training on how to spot bullying. Districts must also create a school safety team to review bullying complaints. Districts will be graded on their efforts to combat the problem. Administrators who do not investigate reported incidents will be disciplined.