The state of New Jersey has enacted legislation that enhances the legal obligations of boards of education, school district administrators, and school employees to address the problem of bullying by students.

For you as parents, it is important to know that:

  • Bullying is not tolerated at Pascack Valley High School
  • We are complying with the new law and have established new and enhanced procedures to deal with receiving complaints, investigating those complaints, and acting upon them appropriately, Students who are found to have been involved in bullying another student will be appropriately disciplined.  Such discipline can include short or long-term suspension from school.
  • We are reviewing all aspects of our school climate, to ensure that all of our activities and programs emphasize mutual kindness and support of another at all times.

This new law extends to harassment, intimidation or bullying behavior outside the hours of the school day. The use of social networking sites and other electronic media to send hurtful messages at any time of the day or night is subject to the new law.

The definition of harassment, intimidation, and bullying in the new legislation includes:

  • "any gesture, any written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication whether it be a single incident or a series of incidents
  • "that substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students and
  • "...will have the effect of physically or emotionally harming a student and
  • "...has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students and
  • "…. creates a hostile educational environment for the student.

We encourage all parents to go to the district website and read the revised policy (5512) that is posted and discuss with your child the negative implications or becoming involved in harassment, intimidation, and bullying, We will continue not to accept the excuse students often give: "But I was only kidding." Hurtful words and actions are not funny to the person to whom they are directed and often have lasting impact.

We will be discussing this new law and our procedures with students very early in the school year.  We pride ourselves on the caliber of our student body and know that our students are caring and thoughtful people who generally interact with one another with kindness and mutual support. We anticipate that our students will respond to this new HIB law with respect for its intention and with full understanding of the consequences. We fully expect that our students will be the first to reflect on their own behavior and make any needed changes, stand up for those who they know are targets of bullying, and become leaders in this initiative to eliminate bullying in all its forms.

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