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Poll: How Can NJ Schools and Districts Most Effectively Fight Bullying?

Sayreville has made hazing a national issue, but how do New Jersey schools fight the problem and prevent another incident?

The criminal charges and allegations of hazing, bullying, and sexual assault among football players at Sayreville War Memorial High School have made the situation not just a local or statewide issue, but a national one. It’s too early to hazard a guess as to what may ultimately happen, or how the community will heal itself. But concentrating solely on the events in Sayreville is to miss a critical question:

Is there more that state or local school officials can do to prevent such incidents in the future?

  • The state has the strongest anti-bullying law in the country, and law enforcement is on top of the situation. The system is working; let the legal process proceed.

  • Even with a tough anti-bullying law, districts need to remain vigilant. The law only goes so far, and districts need to do more to actively build a climate and culture of respect in their schools.

  • This is a high-school sports thing, and the state’s athletic association and the coaches who belong to it need to make special efforts to supervise their student-athletes and steer them from even relatively mild hazing.

  • We need to rethink the culture we have built around school sports, from middle schools on up. No excuses: even mild hazing or bullying needs to be punished harshly, as do the schools that allow it.

  • The media has made way too much of this. Get over it.

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