A New Jersey teenager is suing two local school districts for not doing more to stop the relentless bullying he allegedly endured from fourth grade until high school, the Hunterdon County Democrat reports.
Brian Cige, an attorney for the student, told the news outlet that his client was bullied by both students and some school employees. The cruelty the teenager encountered is said to have included incidents of "pantsing," speculation over his sexual orientation and cyber bullying through Facebook.
Cige is arguing that the school districts are liable for not having done more to stop this behavior.
Though there aren't hard statistics on how frequently lawsuits grow out of bullying incidents, USA Today previously reported that such cases have grown more common in recent years.
One attorney, for example, told the news outlet that he processed between 60 and 70 bullying-related cases in a matter of just two years.
However, rulings on these cases can depend on a variety of factors.
Earlier this year, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against school officials in Mentor, Ohio, after it was determined the victim's parents didn't offer enough evidence to suggest the school could have done more to prevent the bullying of their daughter. The judge noted that the bullying of the teen -- who later committed suicide -- occurred mostly over the summer and after the student had left the school.
Misty Phillips, on the other hand, won a $300,000 judgment against a Tennessee school district after another student threw a textbook at her son, and he went blind in one eye. (The district appealed the ruling, though, and the case has since gone to the state's Supreme Court.)
New Jersey is currently home to the nation's toughest anti-bullying law, which was passed following the high-profile suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi.
Each school must designate an antibullying specialist to investigate complaints; each district must, in turn, have an antibullying coordinator; and the State Education Department will evaluate every effort, posting grades on its Web site. Superintendents said that educators who failed to comply could lose their licenses.
To learn more about the law, visit the New Jersey Education Association.
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