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Ridgewood Bullying Incident – Do Anti Bullying Laws Go Too Far? [POLL]

Flickr User artworksbytb
Flickr User artworksbytb

Incidents like the following case in Ridgewood should be an indication that the recently enacted anti-bullying guidelines go too far. At least in my view.

Or perhaps you feel they thwart accused bullies from doing more damage to their victims down the road.

No matter. A recent case in Ridgewood is an indication that a lot of time and money is spent on one kid calling another names with the case being brought to the attention of the Education Commissioner.

And why is he brought into it? Because the parent of the suspected bully has challenged his child as being classified as a bully, and possibly hurting his chances of getting into the college of his choice down the road.

You would think the Education Commissioner had more important things to do; but no!

I guess since the law’s been enacted; this is part and parcel with the job.
You tell me, given the following whether or not the anti bullying laws go too far.

According to this:

A Ridgewood boy committed bullying when he called a middle school classmate “horse,” “fat” and “fat ass” in 2012, the state Education Commissioner has ruled, bringing an end to the legal challenge brought under New Jersey’s high-profile Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights.

The decision upholds a determination by the Ridgewood School Board, which found the then-seventh-grader committed HIB — harassment, intimidation and bullying. The ruling by Commissioner Christopher Cerf also dismissed a legal challenge brought by the boy, now a high school student, and his father.

The case is one of handful that have gone all the way to the state’s education commissioner, challenging the tough anti-bullying law that took effect in September 2011.

(One of those cases was one he overturned where one kid put paper down the back of another kid. He determined in that case it didn’t constitute bullying.)

It was the subject of a court hearing before a state administrative law judge in Newark earlier this year, where Ridgewood Superintendent Daniel Fishbein and two other school officials took the stand.

The accused bully also testified on his own behalf, saying he “never made any remarks other than horse,” and did not have intent to bully the girl.

The judge found that while the boy was not a “chronic troublemaker,” his actions were “hurtful and extremely upsetting to his classmate.”

The boy was given two detentions as punishment. The boy and his father had also sought to remove any reference to the incident from his school records.

Fishbein testified that while a record of the case would remain in the boy’s school files, it would not be included as part of an academic record, for college applications. If the family were to move, however, Fishbein said he did not know how another district would handle it.

It could not be determined today what the school district’s legal fees were in the case.

So now besides having to make a determination as to whether one kid calls another “horse” constitutes bullying; the district is on the hook for legal fees incurred because of all the litigation.

And the Education Commissioner, besides having to oversee whatever else goes on in the 600 or so districts throughout the state, now has to monitor each and every case of suspected bullying.

Tough job, eh?

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