The New Jersey Anti-Bullying Task Force, a state-appointed organization established in March 2012, released its third annual report on Jan. 26, noting that for the second consecutive year, there was a decline in harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB)  incidents and investigations in schools, and an increase in the number of programs and training sessions offered to students and staff to prevent HIB incidents.

There was a 16 percent decrease in the number of HIB investigations conducted for the year ending June 20, 2014, over the previous year. The number of programs and training increased during that time, by 29 percent, and 26 percent, respectively.

Recommendations on Hazing The task force also made recommendations for 2015, including adding “gender identify and expression,” to the list of protected classes in the administrative code. The recommendations also urged school districts to ensure that hazing, including, but not limited to athletics, is addressed in their code of conduct and other documents; that districts should include intervention and prevention strategies related to hazing in trainings, and that districts and local law enforcement officials address issues of hazing and HIB in their Uniform Memorandum of Agreement.

The full report is available at http://www.state.nj.us/education/students/safety/behavior/hib/task/AnnualReport15.pdf.

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