The administration of Rumson Fair Haven Regional High School has stepped up to the plate with New Jersey’s recent bullying legislation. RFH has always responded to bullying with necessary precautions and consequences, but beginning in September, additional measures will be taken to ensure that RFH is a school of respect and consideration.
New Jersey’s new law states that all schools must have anti-bullying rules established, as well as a protocol for reporting and investigating acts of harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Administrators, including Vice Principal Lanzalotto, have responded to this new legislation with full support.
“Anything helping kids and allowing them to come to school every day is a fantastic idea, ” Lanzalotto stated.
The state’s goal is to keep every child comfortable and safe in school. However, some question the level to which this invades students’ privacy, as well as their right to it. Others, still, believe that these steps are not enough.
Regardless, students will be held accountable for their actions at RFH. “You are accountable for your actions and those should be a loud to question,” commented Lanzalotto.
Mr. Lippart, a guidance councelor at RFH, is working with Mr. Lanzalotto to investigate acts of bullying within the school. However, other measures are being taken to cultivate this community of respect. During Respect Week, tickets were distributed to all grade levels as well as faculty and staff. These tickets were used as a way to quantify and reward students’ respectful actions during the week. The most respectful student and staff member were honored and rewarded for their behavior.
Respect Week, and other initiatives taken by schools across New Jersey, have partially been a response to recent and devestating consequences due to school bullying. For example, Rutgers student Tyler Clementi committed suicide last year after being bullied for his sexual orientation. At a conference with the First Lady last March, President Obama stated he was going to take action and make it a country-wide law for every state to follow.
When asked why this was so important, the President responded, “Because it’s something that happens a lot, and it’s something that’s always been around, sometimes we’ve turned a blind eye to the problem. We’ve said ‘Kids will be kids.’ And so sometimes we overlook the real damage that bullying can do,” he said.
Yes, some students may think Respect Week is silly and will not do anything ,but we must remain optimistic. New Jersey is one of the first states to embrace this legislation in the hope that other states will follow in our footsteps.
Do your part-learn more, and help educate others.