What rights do children have under the NJ anti-bullying statute?


  • New Jersey’s anti-bullying statute is limited to a particular kind of bullying: the bullying must be based on some special characteristic of the child who is the target of the bullying.
  • Characteristics could be nearly anything, such as race, religion, nationality, weight, acne, a disability, being slower in school, the smallest child in the school, or the biggest child in the school.
  • Children getting into negative altercations or disputes over, for instance, the outcome of a game, or over boyfriends or girlfriends do not qualify under the statute, since such disputes are not based on a special characteristic.
  • The statute is a reporting statute, meaning that there will actually be an investigation into the allegations, it will be written, the findings will be reported, and the parent has a right to appeal the findings to the school board and beyond if they’re not satisfied with the findings. The limitation of the statute is that it does not demand that the school district impose any particular punishment.
  • Ultimately, however, if the school has knowledge of the bullying and they respond indifferently to that knowledge, meaning that they don’t take meaningful action likely to reduce or eliminate the bullying, the school can be held liable.