Harassment, Intimidation, Bullying (HIB) Information Letter
On January 6, 2011, Governor Christie signed the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights. This law went into effect on September 1, 2011. The new law prohibits harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB). It defines bullying, clarifies responsibility for conduct away from school grounds, creates a school safety team, and requires that each school have an Anti-Bullying Specialist and an Anti-Bullying Coordinator. The new law requires procedures for an investigation, reporting, discipline support, and appeals. The law addresses the following types of behavior including: any type of gesture; any written, verbal or physical act; or any electronic communication. An act of HIB can be a single incident or a series of incidents.

The term “HIB” means: any gesture; any written, verbal or physical act; or any electronic communication that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression; or by a mental, physical or sensory handicap; or by any other distinguishing characteristic that takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function, on a school bus, or off school grounds, and that:

a. a reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, that the act(s) of HIB will have the effect of harming a student or damaging the student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to his person or damage to his property; or
b. has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students in such a way as to cause substantial disruption in, or substantial interference with, the orderly operation of the school.

HIB is reported if it causes a substantial disruption or interference and has the effect of insulting or demeaning a student or group or creates a hostile educational environment by interfering with a student’s education or severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm to a student.

Recently I was made aware of an act that warrants an HIB investigation concerning your son or daughter. The investigation began immediately after the verbal disclosure. The PHS Anti-Bullying Specialist will perform an investigation (others may assist) and a report will be presented to the principal within 10 days from the reported date. The letter constitutes your notification that the process has begun. Please discuss this matter with your son or daughter.

Once the report is investigated and report finalized, the Superintendent may recommend certain interventions or disciplines for those involved. The Superintendent will report each case anonymously to the Board of Education at the next meeting. There is no disclosure of the name(s) of the person(s) accused or alleged target(s) at this meeting.

The new law provides due process for both the alleged accused and the alleged target(s). Parents of all parties have the right to receive information within 5 days after the results of the investigation are given to the Board of Education. After receiving the information, parents may request a hearing within 10 days.

It is our goal that students attending Princeton High School learn in a safe educational setting free from harassment, intimidation, and bullying. We value your support and attention to this critical initiative. If you have questions regarding the investigation, please contact our Anti-Bullying Specialist, Diana Lygas at 609-806-4280.

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