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Can schools be held liable for a student's bullying?

In New Jersey in 2002, the first statute addressing bullying went into effect. In 2007, the state supreme court ruled in L.W. v. Toms River Regional Schools Board of Education that if a school district did not respond reasonably to harassment and bullying against a student by a student, then a lawsuit could be filed against the school district.

Another result of that lawsuit was that the state of New Jersey created the Commission on Bullying in Schools, which became active in the New Jersey Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention. The commission's goal was to study bullying in schools and come up with ways to address the problem. The commission's report was issued in 2009, and it was highly influential in the creation of the "Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act." This became law in 2011 and is now considered the "strongest anti-bullying legislation in the country."

According to the results of a national survey, almost one-third of students are affected by bullying. These students might be the bullies themselves or the targets. Bullying does not only take on a physical form, but also emotional and verbal forms. Cyberbullying is also a growing problem.

Students should feel safe at school and not have to worry about bullying in any form. When New Jersey school districts fail to act when bullying or harassment reports are made, legal action may be taken against the school district. At Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff, P.A., our attorneys are experienced in premises liability lawsuits and can provide more information on how to seek damages from your child's school district for bullying and similar behavior. To start out, take a look at our webpage on premises liability.

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