KIYC: State report finds incidents of school bullying are at a record high
A report from New Jersey’s anti-bullying task force found that reports of bullying in the state have hit a record high. The task force was convened as a result of a Kane In Your Corner investigation.
The report found that in the past 10 years bullying cases have increased more than 400%. Some of the recommendations by the task force address the same flaws in the system that News 12 exposed in a 2019 investigation.
The report says that there were 19,138 bullying investigations during the 2021-2022 school year, but only 40% of those cases were confirmed to be acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying – also known as HIB. The other 60% were declared as unsubstantiated.
The Kane In Your Corner investigation found that one of the reasons so few cases are confirmed is that New Jersey’s bullying law says incidents only count as bullying if they are based on a distinguishing characteristic, such as race, religion, or gender identity.
The task force recommended that it be made clear that all students should be protected from bullying and that bullying is actually about students with more power targeting those with less.
The rise in school bullying also appears to be fueled by an increase in cyberbullying. The report found online or social media bullying made up 37% of all cases. This is up from 15% in the 2018-2019 school year.
The state Department of Education will now have to decide whether to implement the task force's recommendations.