Acting on his commitment to ensure schools provide safe learning environments for children, free from harassment, intimidation and bullying, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today named his four members to the state’s Anti-Bullying Task Force called for in the Anti-Bullying Law of Rights. Originally signed into law in January 2011, portions of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights were found by the Council on Local Mandates to pose an unfunded mandate for school districts. Working in a bipartisan manner with the legislature, Governor Christie signed a legislative fix in March 2012 to address concerns cited by the Council. In addition to the creation of the Task Force, the measure also appropriates $1 million into the “Bullying Prevention Fund,” to financially support school districts as they implement the law.
The Governor’s four appointments are: Rutgers University’s Bullying Prevention Institute Director Bradford C. Lerman, Psy.D. (Westfield, Union); Bancroft President and CEO Toni Pergolin, CPA (Penn Valley, Pennsylvania); East Hanover Township Public Schools Superintendent Joseph L. Ricca, Jr., Ed.D. (Morristown, Morris); and New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association Executive Director Patricia Wright, Ed.M.(Spring Lake, Monmouth). These direct appointments do not require Senate confirmation and members will serve without compensation.
The Anti-Bullying Task Force is composed of seven members with experience or expertise in issues related to school bullying who will review and assist with the law’s implementation. The Governor appoints four members with the remaining three individuals appointed one each by the Senate President and the Speaker of the General Assembly, as well as one appointed jointly by the Senate President and the Speaker of the General Assembly.