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7-16-13 Education Issues in the News
NJ Spotlight – Anti-Bullying Tactics 101: NJ Educators Get Lessons from Experts…Hundreds attend training sessions that include learning interrogation techniques used by State Police

NJ Spotlight – Bill would Offer Respite for Caretakers of Children Who Need 24-7 attention…Rount-the-clock providers would be regulated by state under measure approved by Assembly

Courier Post - United Arab Emirates donates $4.5 million to 30 Sandy-struck schools…Highlands Elementary will receive funds to be used for technology

NJ Spotlight – Anti-Bullying Tactics 101: NJ Educators Get Lessons from Experts…Hundreds attend training sessions that include learning interrogation techniques used by State Police

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By John Mooney, July 16, 2013 in Education |Post a Comment

New Jersey educators are getting lessons in police interrogation techniques and how to tell if someone is lying – even if they are only in elementary school – as the stakes have increased in the crackdown on bullying.

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More than 500 teachers, counselors and administrators completed training sessions this spring with state and outside experts -- including a N.J. State Police sergeant - that included detailed investigation and “interview” techniques. (One suggestion: never use the word “interrogation.”)

Lengthy PowerPoint presentations offered tips on how to talk with students of all ages and how to interpret their words and body language. There was also step-by-step guidance on how to interpret the state’s new bullying law and what classifies a fight between two kids as a potential bullying incident.

One of the more intriguing presentations included a listed indicators that a child might be hiding something:

·         Inappropriate laughter

·         Starting to speak in third person

·         Telling you they have done things … wrong in the past

·         Repeating your question

The training was conducted by the state Department of Education and LEGAL ONE, a partnership of state education and law groups that teaches school employees about important education law and policies that affect their jobs.

Six regional sessions have been held throughout the state, including one specifically for Jersey City schools, and more are planned for late summer and fall. Most of the participants have been personnel chosen to be the anti-bullying “specialist” at their school -- typically a guidance counselor or student counselor who are charged with investigating alleged incidents under the new law.

There is no shortage of claims to investigate, with more than 35,000 incidents reported in 2011-12 during the first year of the law, almost half of them confirmed.

“The whole idea is that for those charged with this role to be as comfortable as possible with the procedures under the law, and the various ways to get to the bottom of an incident,” said David Nash, coordinator for LEGAL ONE and director of legal education for the Foundation for Educational Administration.

“When they took their jobs, this is not something they thought they’d be doing; it’s not a natural process to go through,” he said. “But there are certain investigative techniques that are useful that a counselor or even an administrator may never have learned.”

The daylong session had three parts, starting with an overview of the law and the different responsibilities of each individual. The step-by-step guide covers more than a dozen steps in any one investigation.

There is also a video simulation of an investigation, offering a chance to see both the “incident” and the investigation process in action.

In between there was a presentation by State Police Sgt. Adam Drew, titled “The Investigation.”

Drew offered many tips, ranging from the importance of planning interviews, including the order in which they are conducted, to focusing on asking “open questions” that discourage just a yes or no answer.

Typically individuals – including parents -- should be interviewed alone, he advised.

“Do not be intimidated by a parent,” the trooper’s presentation reads, adding that sometimes the parents themselves could be bullying offenders.

The interview of a young student will be very different from that of an older one, Drew’s presentation continues, and witnesses are often asked one set of questions while the accused is asked another. The interview of the accused, the state trooper said, will obviously be very different from that of the possible victim.

“Keep in mind the target has been through a bad experience,” said one slide about the victim interview. “The health and personal safety of victim must be the primary concern . . . Might consider postponing the interview.”

The presentation delves into handling of evidence and the importance of writing down everything. “If you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen,” the presentation said.

And it lays out the different findings on body language and eye movement in trying to determine a person’s truthfulness.

Nash, of LEGAL ONE, said it can all sound very heavy, but the reception has so far been positive. In cases that can and sometimes do go to court, the importance of knowing proper procedures is important.

“The bottom line is somebody needs to investigate, and good or bad, we have a law to follow,” Nash said. “We just want the best process possible to getting at the truth.”



NJ Spotlight – Bill would Offer Respite for Caretakers of Children Who Need 24-7 attention…Rount-the-clock providers would be regulated by state under measure approved by Assembly


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By Andrew Kitchenman, July 16, 2013 in Healthcare

Parents of children with health needs requiring around-the-clock attention would get some much-needed relief under a bill advancing in the state Legislature.

The bill, A-3558, would require state officials do develop regulations for facilities that provide “pediatric respite care.”

Such care allows children who normally receive 24-7 care at home to stay at the facility while family members vacation or take care of other needs.

Parents who need to take a break must now employ a constantly shifting stream of providers who will work in their homes. This frequently leads to parents having to find last-minute replacements and isn’t effective for longer periods of time, according to Nathan Rudy, executive director of Connor’s House, an organization that is advocating for the bill.

Families “have to make incredible, incredible sacrifices to their own lives and to the lives of siblings,” Rudy said at an Assembly Regulated Professions Committee hearing earlier this year.

Connor’s House was launched by Scott and Deb Millard, whose son Connor Millard lived at home despite being on a ventilator his entire life, Rudy said.

“They were told that he should be institutionalized and that they would never be a family,” Rudy said. “They were unwilling to accept that. They brought him home against a lot of the medical wishes.”

This allowed Connor to enjoy a home life and engage in activities like riding a tricycle before he died in 2007 at the age of 8. Rudy noted that the Millards were under a lot of strain because of the level of care that Connor required, but they were able to handle it with the support of their parents and their church.

“Most families in this situation don’t have that,” Rudy said.

Roxbury Township-based Connor’s House, along with Circle of Life in Elizabeth, is one of the two organizations interested in applying to be regulated under the provisions of the bill, Rudy said. While the organization already provides help to some families, it’s hindered by the lack of state regulation. While pediatric respite care facilities have been widely adopted in the United Kingdom, they have been licensed in the United States only in San Francisco and Phoenix.

With 12,000 New Jersey children having life-shortening conditions and requiring 24-7 medical care, “My guess is that no matter how many we build, we’ll be underserved,” Rudy said.

Bill sponsor Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson (D-Mercer) said the legislation would allow parents to take a break of up to two weeks, either to take a vacation or to provide for other family members’ needs.

“There are thousands of children here in New Jersey that require 24-7 specialized care. It’s been recognized in recent times that having those children receive the care at home provides better quality of life, not only for the child, but better health outcomes, and better quality of life for their families,” Benson said.

“There comes a time when that burden becomes high, either because of providing for themselves, providing a break in that care, providing some just normal quality time and family time to other children in the family,” Benson said.

Benson said children also benefit, both by receiving different forms of therapy and by spending time with other children facing similar health issues.

The facilities are “not just providing that care, they’re providing a break for the children as well, through art therapy and other types of recreation and activities and, more importantly, also to meet other children with the same conditions and seeing that there is a normalization of care and a socialization, to know that they’re not alone in fighting these diseases,” Benson said.

Benson said that while he hopes insurance companies will pay for the respite care, the facilities will likely rely on donations.

“This is care that’s been provided and paid for by insurance at home anyway,” Benson said.

Benson added that existing hospitals and long-term care facilities that serve children with special needs would also be able to apply to serve as respite providers under the legislation.

“They may look at this, depending on how the regulations are written, and say this is something we could provide,” he said

Courier Post - United Arab Emirates donates $4.5 million to 30 Sandy-struck schools…Highlands Elementary will receive funds to be used for technology

Jul. 16, 2013   Written byKevin Pentón  New Jersey Press Media

Schools to receive funding from the $4.5 million contribution:

Belmar School District
» Belmar Elementary
Brick School District
» Brick Township High School
» Brick Township Memorial High School
» Drum Point Road Elementary School
» Emma Havens Young Elementary School
» Herbertsville Elementary School
» Lake Riviera Middle School
» Lanes Mill Elementary School
» Midstreams Elementary School
» Osbornville Elementary School
» Veterans Memorial Middle School
» Veterans Memorial Elementary School
Highlands Borough School District
» Highlands Elementary School
Hoboken School District
» Hoboken High School
» Joseph F. Brandt School
» Salvatore R. Calabro
» Thomas G. Connors
» Wallace Elementary School
Little Ferry School District
» Memorial Elementary School
» Washington Elementary School
Moonachie School District
» Robert L. Craig School
Sayreville School District
» Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School
» Emma Arleth Elementary School
» Harry S. Truman Elementary School
» Samsel Upper Elementary School
» Sayreville Middle School
» Sayreville War Memorial High School
» Woodrow Wilson Elementary School
Seaside Heights School District
» Hugh J. Boyd Jr. Elementary School
Union Beach School District
» Memorial School
Source: Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund


Despite the borough’s name, a large portion of Highlands was close enough to Sandy Hook Bay to receive a punishing blow from Superstorm Sandy last year.

An exception was Highlands Elementary School, a building located on higher ground that served as a gathering place for the community in the days after the storm.

Highlands is one of 30 schools in the state that will benefit from a $4.5 million contribution from the United Arab Emirates to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, a charity headed by Gov. Chris Christie’s wife, Mary Pat Christie.

"This is going to help our children for a very long time," said Karen Horner, a member of the Highlands Board of Education, after a presentation ceremony outside the school Monday.

The contribution is part of a larger effort by the oil-rich Middle Eastern nation to bring lasting change to communities in the United States that are either underserved or recovering from national disasters, according to embassy officials. Other donations have included $100 million for relief work and school construction in New Orleans post-Katrina, and aid to tornado-struck Joplin, Mo., in 2011.

"We truly hope this helps the people of New Jersey," said Yousef Al Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to the United States.

The nation has pledged a $5 million contribution to the state of New York, embassy officials said.

Schools in Belmar, Brick, Hoboken, Little Ferry, Moonachie, Sayreville, Seaside Heights and Union Beach also will receive money from the contribution, according to the relief fund, which has collected $38 million in donations.

The money is expected to be allocated in the near future, and must be spent on technology by the fall of 2014, said Eileen Lofrese, a spokeswoman for the relief fund.

The state Department of Education is assisting in developing the criteria for how the money will be allocated.

Each school will not necessarily receive the same amount, Lofrese said.

Highlands plans to use the money to buy additional computer servers and for new parts to existing student laptops, helping to make the devices more mobile and interactive with each other, Horner said.

The state, relief fund and United Arab Emirates officials worked for some time on finding the best way for the money to be spent, Christie said. They ultimately settled on education, he said.

“This is a wonderful, wonderful thing for us to be a part of,” Christie said.

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