N.J. passes bill requiring sensitivity training for coaches, athletic directors

June 28, 2019 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
The New Jersey General Assembly on Thursday passed a bill that will require the state’s high school coaches and athletic administrators to complete a sensitivity training program.

The bill directs the state’s Commissioner of Education to develop the program, which will also be required for sports officials. Sensitivity training topics must include gender and sexual orientation; race and ethnicity; disabilities; religious tolerance; unconscious bias; and diversity and inclusion.

Last December, a New Jersey high school referee came under fire for forcing a wrestler to cut his dreadlocks before competing. State Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, who sponsored the sensitivity training bill, said the incident was a good example of why the program is necessary.

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“You would have been clearly sensitive to the fact of a young man having dreadlocks and how insensitive it is to cut somebody’s dreadlocks,” Wimberly told NJ.com in January. “Unfortunately, his situation will probably bring life to this across the board to everybody.”

Under the law, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association must require that coaches and athletic administrators at its member schools take the training every four years. New coaches and athletic administrators must take the training in their first year.

The law will take effect as soon as it’s signed by Gov. Phil Murphy.

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