Coalition Update 11/9/04:

Meeting held at NJ Law Center.

Progress Report:

(1) Status of LW case appeal report by Jeanne LoCicero/ACLU-NJ: Amicus curiae brief being prepared. Organizations interested in signing on to the brief need to contact Jeanne by 12/8 to indicate interest, not to make a final decision about involvement. Click Here to contact Jeanne or call her at 973 642-2086. For more detail about the LW case and the brief, see the attached memo from Jeanne: Friend of the Court Brief for LW

(2) Report by Kelly Clark-Condon/NJDOE: New student code of conduct has been proposed and is in discussion and public review phase. The code provides detail for areas addressed by the anti-bullying law and, therefore, has the potential to strengthen and extend the effect of the law. Coalition organizations and individuals may submit written or, alternatively, provide oral testimony to the Office of the State Board about the proposed conduct code. Procedures for commenting on the code can be found below: Proposed Student Conduct Code .

(3) Project updates were provided as follows:

Law Project: Project leader Ed Barocas/ACLU. The focus at present remains on the LW case, with hope for eventual post-appeal resolution in favor of the new higher standard for assessing school response to/prevention of bullying. Once the case is resolved other law project activities, such as identification of and education for lawyers interested in advocating for bullied children and their families will move forward.

Training Project: Project leader Helen Varvi/Prevention First. The training group has developed a draft of a screening instrument by which programs that address bullying can be assessed for adequacy of approach. The instrument draft should be reviewed/critiqued and feedback provided to the training group (via Helen). Screening instrument .

Parents Campaign Project leader Sh'corah Yehudah/SPAN. Identifying and recruiting potential parent leaders and participants for the campaign is the current focus. An announcement on the website and group email asking organizations to identify and pass on the names (to Sh'corah) of parents interested in participating are the next steps which can lead to the convening of an organizational meeting within the next three months. Stuart will reach out to Lisa Toomey, who developed Connecticut's parents campaign and with whom he has been in touch regarding her availability to come to New Jersey for the meeting and to advise on development issues. Also note the successful contact with PTA, PA and ARC (ARC was at the 11/9 meeting), who each represent significant parent constituencies, and will be participating in the network with the parents campaign a likely focus for their involvement.

Hotline: Project leaders Dr. Joan Rivitz of the New Jersey Commission on Civil Rights and New Jersey Commission for Holocaust Education and Randy Ross of the New Jersey Cares About Bullying and Office of Bias Crime and Community Relations. The group is pursuing discussions with various organizations that can provide adequate support for children who call the line, while it is felt that the needs of adult callers can already be met. Given the need to contract with other agencies for child support nd to maintain staffing of the line as it is publicized and demand increases, options for grants (funding) are being explored. More news will be forthcoming.

Website: Project leader: Stuart Green/NJCBAP: Prior help from Laura Matefy, an FDU student, has been greatly appreciated. Going forward, Tourettes Syndrome Association (Faith Rice) has contributed the very valuable resource of staff time to development of the webstite (www.njbullying.org) .  Kathy Bakes of Tourettes Syndrome Association, a web designer, is now working on the site. At this stage (11/29/04), an initial reorganization of the site has been done, which is already noticeable, but major changes are still to come. Stuart is working on the text. When that is done, the edited text will be installed on the site, and then further steps can be taken. Envisioned is: a "participating organizations" section where organizations can post materials for review, make suggested changes/edits, etc., and leave bullying-related messages and requests; an expanded "links" section for bullying-related websites; a "news" section to which Stuart can post noteworthy items - with comments - from sources such as nytimes.com and google news alert resources, and others can contribute as well; a "questions/answers" section for visitors to the site, at which bullying-related questions can be submitted and answers from Stuart and other network participants can be posted; a "surveys" section where bullying-related assessment instruments can be posted for school/personal use and an active survey for schools, parents and kids can be filled out and submitted for review; an expanded "Resources" section where the 4 Coalition handouts (key points, parent strategies, references, hazing) can be accessed, as well as other organizations handouts will be made available; a "Coalition and NJ and National Anti-Bullying Updates" section where visitors can access the history of anti-bullying initiatives in NJ as well as view progress reports from the campaign fronts; a "Legal Issues" section where the various relevant New Jersey laws (on bullying, hazing, discrimination, etc.), codes (e.g., student conduct code) and guidelines can be accessed through description, posting and links; a "Getting Help" section with information about hotlines and other recommended means for obtaining help (as a parent or child) when bullying occurs; and other resources.