Taking another quick break from my manuscript revising to drop a quick post on the passage of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights–New Jersey’s anti-bullying law and what is being deemed the toughest of its kind–that went into effect on September 1, 2011. Click here to read more about it in Time article by Adam Cohen on September 6, 2011. Once again, New Jersey is leading the way in passing laws to try to prevent unnecessary suffering of its citizens–in this case, victims of the cruel, prejudiced behavior all too often seen in our school systems. Victims being taunted verbally and even physically at times, leading to a feeling of isolation and ultimately depression that teens are particularly susceptible to as they struggle with their own identities at a time of physical changes, thanks to our hormones having such a huge biopsychosocial impact (e.g., self-esteem issues, wanting to fit in and be liked) that cause such upheaval for so many boys and girls as they transition from child to adult. It’s a shame such laws are even needed at all, but we need to act in the best interests of our citizens. Things are not getting prettier and more empathetic out there, in my humble (and all too realistic) opinion. If we can’t succeed at proactively teaching empathy among our children, we need to at least proactively address (or even try to prevent) the bullying that is inevitable in our school systems. Let’s face it, there will always be the handful of mean kids that may one day go too far and do something to someone that could someday mean life or death. As you can guess I’m all for this law. I only wish it had passed when I was growing up.
Back in 2006, the New Jersey Postpartum Depression Law took effect–the first of its kind with respect to mandatory screening of new mothers for postpartum depression (PPD)–to help ensure early diagnosis and treatment of new mothers suffering from an illness that people fail to realize is the #1 complication of childbirth. As I’ve said before, people who think screening is an intrusion of privacy and just another example of how government is turning Big Brother on us need to realize that healthcare providers are required to screen, but patients are able to decline, the few harmless questions to determine if a new mother is symptomatic of PPD–a valid concern since one out of eight new moms suffer from it! As you can guess, I’m all for this law as well. I only wish it had passed before I had my daughter back in 2004!
People may poke fun of New Jersey, but I kinda like it here. And these are but some of the reasons why. Other states who don’t already have anti-bullying and PPD screening laws in place should seriously think about following New Jersey’s example.