Harassment, Intimidation & Bullying

Legal Definition of Harassment, Intimidation or Bullying

Definition from NJSA: 18A:37-14:  "Harassment, intimidation or bullying" means any gesture, any written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication, whether it be a single incident or a series of incidents, that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical or sensory disability, or by any other distinguishing characteristic, that takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function, on a school bus, or off school grounds as provided for in section 16 of P.L.2010, c.122 (C.18A:37-15.3), that substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students and that:

1. A reasonable person should know under the circumstances, will have the effect of physically or emotionally harming a student or damaging the student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his person or damage his property;

2. Has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students;

3. Creates a hostile educational environment for the student by interfering with a student's education or by severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm to the student.

Harassment, Intimidation, or Bullying can be*:

*the above described behavior, while violative of the Codes of Conduct, constitutes Harassment, Intimidation, or Bullying only when all of the elements contained in the definition of Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying exist; however, misconduct not found to be HIB will still result in consequences pursuant to the Codes of Conduct.

HIB Law Update

Conflict vs. Bullying

Bullying is not a conflict between students or among groups of students. Conflict is a mutually competitive or opposing action or engagement, including a disagreement or an argument which is a normal part of human development. Bullying is one-sided, where one or more students are victims of one or more person's aggression, which is intended to physically or emotionally hurt the victim(s).

"Harmful or demeaning conduct motivated only by another reason, for example, a dispute about a relationship or personal belongings, or aggressive conduct without identifiable motivation does not come within the statutory definition of bullying." K.L. v. Evesham School District (App. Div. 2011)

There generally are four types of bullying behaviors. These behaviors and some examples are identified below:

HIB Off School Grounds

School districts are required to address HIB occurring off school grounds, when there is a nexus between the HIB and the school (i.e., the HIB substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students). The bully/victim relationship must be within the same school district for the district to have HIB jurisdiction. If not, then it may be referred to the home district administration as a code of conduct violation.

Parents’ Guide to NJ Anti-bullying Bill of Rights Act

Harassment, Intimidation, & Bullying Personnel 

Anti-Bullying District Coordinator

Bobbie Bolandi, MA, LPC

District Mental Health Coordinator

973-239-1550 ext. 6127

Cedar Grove High School Anti-Bullying Specialists

Donna Lafoon

Student Assistance Counselor

973-239-6400 ext. 1117

James Sweeney

School Counselor

973-239-6400 ext. 1008

Gina Testa

School Counselor

973-239-6400 ext. 1007

Mark Grgas

School Psychologist

973-239-6400 ext. 1019

Memorial Middle School Anti-Bullying Specialists

Alexa Rubino

School Counselor

973-239-2646 ext. 2103

Colleen Merklinger

School Social Worker

973-239-2646 ext. 2104

Eric Pace

School Psychologist

973-239-2646 ext. 2007

North End Elementary School Anti-Bullying Specialist

Meridith Denman

School Counselor

973-256-1454 ext. 5113

South End Elementary School Anti-Bullying Specialist

Kevin Skowronek

School Counselor

973-239-2116 ext. 4006

Reporting Procedures

A procedure is in place to promptly investigate reports of violations and complaints related harassment, intimidation, or bullying.  Cedar Grove School District employees are required to do the following:


A  School Safety Team will be established at each school to develop, foster, and maintain a positive school climate and to also address issues related to harassment, intimidation, and bullying.  The School Safety Team will be led by the school Anti-Bullying Specialist, principal, a teacher in the school, a parent of a student in the school and other members to be determined by the principal.  The School Safety Team will identify and address patterns of harassment, intimidation, or bullying of students in the school, and work to educate the community, including students, teachers, administrative staff, and parents to prevent and address harassment, intimidation, or bullying of students.