Bullying has become an epidemic problem within American’s schools. Making matters worse, with social media, student on student bullying does not necessarily stop at the end of the school day. In an effort to combat bullying, in 2011, New Jersey passed one of the strongest Anti-Bullying laws in the country. The legislation aimed to tackle bullying by making schools and their administrators accountable for addressing all incidents of harassment, intimidation or bullying reported in their schools. The law recognizes that harassment, intimidation or bullying occurs in many formats, including verbally, physically, psychologically and electronically.
According to the law, upon a report of bullying, the school’s anti-bullying specialist must conduct an investigation of the alleged incident. Once the investigation is completed, the findings of the investigation must be provided to the District’s superintendent who must decide the appropriate action to be taken. Action by the superintendent may include providing intervention services, imposing discipline and/or ordering counseling. The decision of the superintendent must then be reported to the District’s Board of Education. The Board of Education has the power to affirm, reject or modify the superintendent’s decision. Appeals of Board decisions can be filed by parents to the New Jersey Commission of Education.
New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Law does not prevent victims from seeking relief from other forums. Parents may file a complaint with the Division of Civil Rights or the Superior Court of New Jersey under the Law against Discrimination (LAD) if it is believed that the bullying was motivated by other factors, such as a student’s race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity.
Whether your child is being accused of being a bully or has been bullied, your child has legal rights. To learn more about how our attorneys can help you, contact us today.