N.J. weighs nation’s toughest response to bullying

A bill that would give New Jersey the strictest anti-bullying law in the nation is making its way through the state Legislature.The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights will strengthen the state’s existing laws that legislators say don’t go far enough. Victims and parents testified before Senate and Assembly committees.Michele Weinberg of Upper Saddle River said her son Larry killed himself during his senior year of high school after years of being bullied.”He hurt as much as if he were being stabbed every single day. And he was violated as if he were being robbed every single day,” said Weinberg. “And the pain and the humiliation overwhelmed him.”Weinberg said hundreds of other kids in New Jersey are being bullied, and it must stop.One of those is 17-year-old John Otto of Haddonfield who said he considered suicide after being bullied in school for years because of his sexual orientation.”I’m so happy that I’ve been able to get the treatment that I needed,” said Otto on Monday. “And my hope is that by passing this bill, bullying at school will be eliminated and kids won’t have to suffer the emotional pain that I did.”The bill would require training for school employees on how to identify bullying. They’d have to report it even if the incidents took place away from school property.

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