An advocate for special education children is conducting an investigation into schools’ compliance with New Jersey’s anti-bullying law.
John Rue is the president and general counsel of the Innisfree Foundation. He said the investigation is focused on how school officials interpret the law and decide whether to pursue bullying complaints.
“They are sometimes affirmatively choosing not to act in order to affect their statistics. In other cases, they are doing all too much, they are using bullying investigations as a means of managing student conduct in ways where bullying is not really implicated,” said Rue.
Rue said those might be isolated instances in individual school districts rather than a systemic statewide problem. “They have a lot of pressures on them. They have pressures from the state. They have budgetary pressures. And when these disputes arise what we end up doing is simply trying to apply pressures on them to act in a particular direction. But there are no villains, there are no bad guys, nobody is twirling their mustache and trying to lead to bad outcomes for these New Jersey children.”
Rue isn’t sure how long it will take to complete his investigation. He said the goal is to help parents know how their school districts are handling allegations of harassment, intimidation, and bullying.