Failure to Prevent Bullying = Liability for Discrimination?

Last week New Jersey legislators passed an “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights.” The bill revised the 2002 New Jersey law on harassment, intimidation, and bullying in public schools. According to one legislator, the Bill “makes it clear that preventing and responding to incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying are not optional.” Rather the Bill sets forth specific protocols for investigating, reporting and training necessary to deal with bullying. The question for schools and courts to consider going forward is whether implementation of the protocols and/or the failure to do so, will render the schools liable in discrimination suits commenced by/on behalf of the bullied students.

Thanks to Cheryl Fuchs for her contribution to this post.

The Anti-Bullying Bill is now law — While it does not provide a private cause of action, the question is — will plaintiff’s counsel attempt to use evidence of its violation as evidence of negligence in a personal suit against a school where bullying takes place? I think the safe answer is “yes” and we shall have to see how successful such endeavors are.

The full teeth of the anti-bullying law in NJ are bared this school year. Thisarticle explores how schools are coping with it. We’ll see what happens when the first incidents of bullying inevitably occur this first school week of the year.