Data released Tuesday show that that there were 12,024 instances of harassment, intimidation and bullying reported in New Jersey in the 2011-12 school year – the first year the state’s new tough anti-bullying law was in effect, according to The Associated Press.
New Jersey is using a new definition of the behaviors, so there are no previous data for comparison, but the number of incidents reported vary widely by district and may reflect how diligent each school is at reporting, rather than how much bullying there is, AP reports.
Advocates say that New Jersey’s anti-bullying law overhaul makes it the toughest in the nation. Now, schools are required to have anti-bullying programs and coordinators while those measures were previously only recommended, AP reports. Schools are also required to report instances of bullying to the state.
Woolbridge, a district with more than 13,000 students, had the most reported incidents – 177. Newark, the state’s largest school district with more than 39,000 pupils last year report 105 incidents.
In the Camden district, there were 35 reported incidents, but at D.U.E. Season, a small charter school in Camden, and not considered part of the school district, there were 16, AP reports.
Some mid-sized districts reported no bullying incidents. The state also says that there were fewer assaults, fights, criminal threats, robbery, extortion and vandalism last year, compared with previous school years.
However, there were more cases of students caught with guns and drugs at school, but those offenses are still in relatively small numbers.