District 37 Republican Assembly candidates John Aslanian and Keith Jensen said Friday that if they are elected, they intend to support legislation suspending New Jersey’s anti-bullying law, calling it “oppressive,” and saying legislators should focus on tax relief instead.
The anti-bullying law, sponsored by their Democratic opponent, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37), went into effect statewide at the beginning of the current school year, but the two Republicans say it “has turned into a bureaucratic and legal nightmare for administrators, teachers, parents and students.”
Aslanian said in a statement that the law is a “financial drain on schools.”
‘The bill is eating into school curriculum time and staff time,” he said. “Our children need to be learning math, reading and computer skills. They need to compete for jobs in the world economy. The bullying law isn’t going to help them do any of that.”
Jensen of Fort Lee and Aslanian of Englewood Cliffs—staunch proponents of “Fair School Funding”—want to see the anti-bullying law “mothballed” until it can be further scrutinized.
“There is a difference between bullying and teasing, and I think Huttle’s meddlesome legislation blurs that line,” Jensen said, calling the legislation “a knee jerk reaction” to “an unfortunate incident” in reference to Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge last year, prompting the new law.
Jensen added, “It’s the parent’s job to raise their children properly, not the school administration’s job.”
Huttle said Friday she would not comment on a "campaign press release," adding that "bullying in New Jersey is not a political issue." She noted in an email that the bill was sponsored by 53 members of the Assembly and 28 members of the Senate, and signed by Governor Christie.