For more than two hours, speaker after speaker approached the microphone at Lawrence High School to tell the 14-member Governor's Commission on School Bullying personal stories about children being bullied.
Wednesday's hearing was the first of three as commissioners gather testimony from the public about the problem of childhood bullying throughout the state. The next hearing will be tomorrow in Gloucester County.
Formed in October, the commission will submit a report and recommendations to the governor in July. It could suggest specific policies on bullying or enhanced training for school officials, among other possibilities. . .
Afsheen Shamsi, representing the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said New Jersey ranked among the top 10 states for bullying incidents against Muslim students.
One student, she said, came to school last year and found a scrawled message on his locker calling him a terrorist and telling him to "go home."
"This is a kid who's grown up here. He doesn't have another home," Shamsi said.
Other incidents include a student named Osama repeatedly being harassed, and a history teacher making derogatory remarks about Muslims and Arabs. (Full Article)