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2001- Laws determined that New Jersey school districts who are receiving Internet Access funding through the Year 4 E-Rate program must certify by October 2001 that they are complying with Internet filtering technology. This was a result of the Children’s Internet Protection Act regulation.
2009- The Personalized Student Learning Plan Pilot Program was developed and allowed fourteen schools, some middle and high, to participate and allow some students the ability to create their own educational plans. These personalized plans help establish career and academic goals for their futures. This pilot program lasted until 2012 and published results and findings each year.
2012- The New Jersey State Legislature amended the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act which requires Board of Educations in the state to create a policy on Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying. There are a plethora of resources for parents, educators, and students on the Department of Education website. They range from frequently asked questions, webinars, tutorials, presentations, and other informational guides.
2013- Law requires school districts that furnish a student with a laptop, cell phone, or other electronic device to provide such students with the notification that these devices may record or collect information on the activity, camera, or GPS usage. If a school district fails to do so, they are subject to a fine of $250 per student, per incident.
2015- In the 2015-2016 school year New Jersey will have fifty-two 21st Century Community Learning Centers throughout the state. These programs will allow for 10,360 fourth through twelfth graders the opportunity to participate in afterschool programs. The programs are federally regulated and offer a wide range of activities for students.
2016- New Jersey announced its application date and details for the Future Ready- New Jersey Grant which supports schools in the implementation of Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers online assessments. This grant specifically applies to the technology ready and digital learning portion of PARCC. Students will benefit by increasing technology literacy skills, and being comfortable with other digital tools and skills. Maximum award is $250,000.
Digital Technology Investigations Unit
The Digital Technology Investigations Unit is tasked with conducting investigations relating to offenders who use computers and technology for the purpose of exploiting children. The Unit also serves as the Internet Crimes Against Children task force for New Jersey. The website has tips on reporting crimes, staying safe on the Internet, and a request link for safety lectures along with links to related national organizations.
Internet Safety Initiative in Rural New Jersey (2009)W. Clark
This article explains a new partnership between law enforcement officials and other members of the Salem Country, NJ community to bring Internet safety tips to rural places. There is a program developed to provide instruction to teachers and students.
This section contains details of the state’s laws as they relate to sexual offenses, children and the use of the Internet in the commission of criminal activity. Where possible, sentence details have been given, including whether an increased custodial penalty is imposed where the victim is a child.
Under the Constitution of the State of New Jersey, an offense which carries a prison term of less than six months is not deemed to be a crime and there is no right to a grand jury or trial by jury for such offenses. Disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses fall into this category: harassment being one such example. See New Jersey Statutes 2C:1-4 for the full text of that section.
Crimes in New Jersey as classified in degrees. Penalties vary according to the crime committed but general sentencing levels are as follows:
- First degree: ten to 20 years’ imprisonment and/or $200,000 in fines.
- Second degree: five to ten years’ imprisonment and/or $150,000 fines.
- Third degree: three to five years’ imprisonment and/or $15,000 in fines.
- Fourth degree: maximum of eighteen months’ imprisonment and/or $10,000 fines.
In June 2011, Governor Christie signed bill A1561 (SB2700), which creates a diversionary program for juveniles who are criminally charged for sexting or posting sexual images. The Bill inserts section 2A:4A-71.1 into the New Jersey Statutes, requiring any juvenile who commits the offense of sexting to participate in a remedial education or counseling program, paid for by their parents. The program is designed to increase the juvenile’s awareness of the legal consequences (N.J.S. 2C:24-4) and penalties for sexting, its effect on educational and employment opportunities and relationships, as well as the long-term unforeseen consequences and the possible connection to cyberbullying.
Megan’s Law, which requires law enforcement to disclose details relating to the location of registered sex offenders, was introduced following the rape and murder of seven-year old Megan Kanka in July 1994 by her neighbor Jesse Timmendequas in Hamilton Township, Mercer County, New Jersey.
- Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act (2011). This became law on January 5, 2011, recognizing the nature and effects of bullying on students. It mandates that all teaching staff must undertake two hours of suicide prevention training from a licensed professional and that the training must acknowledge the link between bullying and suicide. In addition, all school board members are required to undergo one-off training on the subject of bullying and their responsibilities relating to it. Schools are now required to report on the number of instances of bullying, harassment or intimidation, as part of the ‘report card’ process. Data relating to numbers of incidents of bullying, harassment and intimidation must now be posted to the school’s website, along with the grade it receives from the school district. Schools are required to adopt an anti-bullying policy and reports of bullying must be investigated within one day of being reported. The results of the investigation must be reported to the Superintendent of Schools, the board of education, the parents or guardians of the students involved and the school district within two days of the completion of such an investigation. Schools must also provide a prominent link to the anti-bullying policy on their websites, along with information which includes (but is not limited to) the contact details of the school’s designated anti-bullying specialist and the district coordinator. An online tutorial (with testing element) on harassment, intimidation and bullying is to be developed and made available on the Department of Education’s website. The first Monday in October has been designated as a ‘week of respect’ when schools will run campaigns designed to raise prevent bullying, harassment and intimidation. Higher education establishments are also required to adopt similar measures, such as anti-bullying policies, as those in schools.
- New Jersey Statutes (N.J.S.) 2A:156A-4.1. Interception of Wire, Electronic Communications, Certain; Permitted. This section allows electronic communications to be intercepted by law enforcement officers in the pursuit of an investigation.
- N.J.S. 2C:12-10. Stalking. States that a person is guilty of stalking if they intentionally engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable individual to fear for their safety or suffer other emotional distress. This is deemed to be a crime in the fourth degree. It is upgraded to a third degree offense for subsequent convictions, if the offender is in breach of an order prohibiting such behavior or is on parole for any offense. (Upon a conviction, such conviction is considered grounds for a permanent restraining order and is applied automatically upon a guilty plea or sentencing, unless the victim requests otherwise.)
- N.J.S. 2C:13-6. Luring, Enticing Child by Various Means, Attempts; Crime of Second Degree; Subsequent Offense, Mandatory Imprisonment; Definitions. This section states that it is a crime to lure or entice a child into a vehicle, structure or isolated area, or to meet at any other place, with the purpose of committing a criminal offense with or against the child. This section includes enticement via electronic or other means and the offense is deemed to be a crime in the second degree. Subsequent convictions under this section, or if a similar offense has been committed in another state, incur mandatory prison terms of three to five years without eligibility for parole during that time.
- N.J.S. 2C:13-8. Human Trafficking. Defines the offense of enticing, harboring, transporting, providing or obtaining, by any means, another person to engage in sexual activity or forced labor by threat of serious bodily harm or physical restraint. It is also an offense to receive anything of value from human trafficking. This constitutes a crime in the first degree, punishable by a minimum 20 years’ imprisonment without parole, up to life imprisonment.
- N.J.S. 2C:14-2. Sexual Assault. States that an offender is guilty of aggravated sexual assault if they commit an act of sexual penetration against a child under thirteen or where the child is between thirteen and sixteen and the adult is in a position of authority. This is deemed to be a crime in the first degree. A person is guilty of sexual assault where they commit an act of sexual penetration with a child under thirteen and they are at least four years older than the victim; or where the offender uses force or physical coercion or where the child is between sixteen and eighteen and the adult is in a position of authority. Also included in this section is the situation where the child is over thirteen but under sixteen and the offender is at least four years older than the victim. This is deemed to be a crime in the second degree.
- **N.J.S. 2C:14-3. Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact; Criminal Sexual Contact. **This section states that a person is guilty of aggravated criminal sexual conduct if they commit an act of sexual contact with a child under thirteen or where the child is between thirteen and sixteen and the adult is in a position of authority. This is deemed to be a crime in the third degree. A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct where they commit an act of sexual contact with a child under thirteen and they are at least four years older than the victim; or where the offender uses force or physical coercion or where the child is between sixteen and eighteen and the adult is in a position of authority. Also included in this section is the situation where the child is over thirteen but under sixteen and the offender is at least four years older than the victim. This is deemed to be a crime in the fourth degree.
- N.J.S. 2C:14-4. Lewdness. States that it is a crime to expose intimate parts for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire, where (among other definitions) this likely to be observed by a child of less than thirteen and the offender is more than four years older than the victim. This is deemed to be a crime in the fourth degree.
- N.J.S. 2C:14-9. Invasion of Privacy, Degree of Crime; Defenses, Privileges. States, among other things, that it is an offense for a person to photograph, film, videotape or record the image of another person whose intimate parts are exposed or who is engaged in an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact, without that person’s consent and under circumstances in which a reasonable person would not expect to be observed. This is a crime in the third degree.
- N.J.S. 2C:14-10. Additional Penalties for Sex Offenders; Collection; Use. States that in addition to any other penalty authorized, a person convicted of a sex offense may be fined and the monies deposited in the Sex Crime Victim Treatment Fund. The fines are as follows: $2,000, when the conviction is a crime of the first degree; $1,000, when the conviction is a crime of the second degree; $750, when the conviction is a crime of the third degree; and $500, when the conviction is a crime of the fourth degree.
- N.J.S. 2C:24-4. Endangering Welfare of Children. This section states, among other things, that anyone who causes or permits a child (in this section this is deemed to be a person under the age of sixteen) to engage in a prohibited sexual act or its simulation, knowing that it will be filmed, photographed, reproduced or reconstructed in any manner, including the Internet, is guilty of a crime in the second degree. ‘Prohibited sexual act’ in this section means sexual intercourse, anal intercourse, masturbation, bestiality, sadism, masochism, fellatio, cunnilingus, nudity for the purpose of sexual stimulation, or any act of sexual contact or penetration. The section also states that anyone who films or photographs a child engaged in such an act, or who uses any device, including a computer, to reproduce or reconstruct the image, is guilty of a crime in the second degree. Also included in this section is the situation where a person knowingly receives for the purpose selling or who sells, procures, manufactures, provides, mails, transfers, distributes, or advertises through any means, including the Internet, such image or film, computer program or other reproduction depicting a child engaged in prohibited sexual conduct; this is also a second degree crime. A person is guilty of a crime in the fourth degree if they possess or view any of the above, including via the Internet.
- N.J.S. 2C:33-4 Harassment. States that it is a crime where a person communicates anonymously in a manner that is likely to cause alarm or annoyance. This is deemed to be a petty disorderly persons offense which carries a maximum sentence of 30 days’ imprisonment unless the perpetrator committed the offense whilst in prison, on parole or probation in which case it becomes a crime in the fourth degree.
- N.J.S. 2C:34-2. Obscenity for Persons 18 Years of Age or Older. Defines the offense of selling, distributing, renting or exhibiting obscene material to a person eighteen years of age or older. This is a crime of the fourth degree.
- N.J.S. 2C:34-3. Obscenity for Persons Under 18. States that it is an offense for a person to knowingly sell, distribute, rent or exhibit obscene material to a minor under the age of eighteen. If they do so they are guilty of a crime in the third degree. Where the material is shown to the minor to gratify the sexual desires of the offender when the offender is at least four years older than the minor, this is also considered an offense. Any person who knowingly admits a person under eighteen to a theatre which is exhibiting an obscene film is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
- N.J.S. 2C:43-3.8. Offenses Involving Computer Criminal Activities; Penalties; ‘Computer Crime Prevention Fund. This section states that a person guilty of NJS 2C:34-3 may be fined in addition to any other sentence and the monies deposited into a Computer Crime Prevention Fund. The fines are as follows: (a)$2,000 in the case of a crime of the first degree; (b)$1,000 in the case of a crime of the second degree; (c)$750 in the case of a crime of the third degree; (d)$500 in the case of a crime of the fourth degree; (e)$250 in the case of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense.
- N.J.S. 2C:43-6.6. Internet Access Conditions for Certain Sex Offenders; Fourth Degree Crime. Where a person has been convicted of a sex offense they may be prohibited from accessing the Internet without permission of the court. Alternatively, they may be required to submit to periodic unannounced examinations of their computer or any other device with Internet capability or their computer may be fitted with a system to monitor their usage. A person who fails to comply with the Internet access conditions set forth in this section shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.