A former student has reached a settlement with the Old Bridge School Board after he alleged that the school board failed to take reasonable steps to handle claims the boy made about bullying. The student claims that he became the victim of severe bullying, and that he was specifically targeted by other students because of his Jewish faith and perceived sexual orientation.
Despite making complaints to school officials, the student claims that the school only used "after-the-fact discipline" and took no preventative measures to stop the bullying from continuing. Instead of effectively handling the matter, the student claims, and the school board acknowledges, that the district's former middle school principal recommended that the student look into transferring to a different school, and stated that he would understand if the student made use of physical retaliation.
The student, who remains unnamed, will now receive $60,000 from the school board. The school board will also be required to distribute anti-bullying materials in order to prevent future acts of bullying, and to pay $15,000 to the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights. The school must also institute a formal bias-based harassment prevention program. This program must establish a formal complaint system in order to handle allegations of bullying within the school district.
This case is one of several recent incidents involving bullying in New Jersey schools. In order to address concerns related to bullying, New Jersey legislators have passed the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights. If you or your child has become the victim of bullying, an experienced lawyer can help you understand how you may be able to exercise your rights under this law.