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Under NJ law, kid who called classmate ‘horse’ and ‘fat a**’ goes to court

Posted by on Apr. 29, 2013 at 1:11 AM
  • 6 Replies

  


After enacting the strictest anti-bullying law in the country, the state of New Jersey must now hold trials for kids who call each other names on the playground.


Robby Soave


An eighth-grader in the village of Ridgewood who allegedly called a girl “horse,” “fat,” and “fat ass” is just one of a dozen cases that suggest the 2011 law went too far in criminalizing bullying, according to The Star-Ledger.

The boy denied calling his classmate any name other than “horse.”

“I never made any remarks other than horse,” he said in his testimony. “I did not have any intent.”

The boy’s family insisted on having the case brought to trial. In effect, they are appealing the decision to add a bullying charge to his permanent record, which they worry could harm his college chances later in life.

“I don’t feel what my son said to this young woman constitutes violation of the harassment, intimidation and bullying law,” said the boy’s father. “It’s possible that this could track my son through college graduation.”

At least 15 other families have gone to trial to dispute charges leveled under the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights. Many other students are in the process of initiating appeals.

It’s an unintended result of the law, which took effect in 2011. Designed to combat the kind of ritualistic and pervasive abuse that led to the suicide of bullied Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, the law raises questions about the line between offensive speech and harassment.

Some of the other pending cases underscore this difficulty. One couple insists their daughter’s math teacher bullied her by calling attention to her inappropriately short skirt. A male student faces a bullying charge for retweeting a list of female classmates’ names with the word “grenade” written next to them. In the context of the tweet, the word “grenade” means marking the girls as “the ugly girl always found with a group of hotties,” according to urbandictionary.com.

Several lawmakers and education administrators discussed the law’s scope and ramifications at a recent conference in Newark.

“Where do you go from a speech issue to where you crossed the line?” asked New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa at the conference, according to to NJ Spotlight. “Where is the line to where government has a role when certain kinds of behaviors should be penalized?”

by on Apr. 29, 2013 at 1:11 AM
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SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Apr. 29, 2013 at 1:35 AM

And who decides on the which name calling names are OK, and which step over the line?

One kid's "Four Eyes!" very much is another kid's "Fat a$$." And calling my brother John with his childhood nickname  "Jackie" probably deserves life in prison, without the possibility of parole. 

I'm sure we can define bullying in a more precise way. 

JakeandEmmasMom
by Gold Member on Apr. 29, 2013 at 8:38 AM

 The pendulum has swung too far with this.  Bullying needs to be taken seriously by school officials, but applying criminal charges goes too far, IMO.

Mommy_of_Riley
by Just Jess on Apr. 29, 2013 at 9:43 AM
I am unsure on this...

I ca see it getting out of hand but damn kids are so mean nowadays!

Calling someone "horse" or "fat a$$" isn't okay and the kid should know that so maybe the parents should make sure to teach their children to be nice and respectful to their classmates.
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SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Apr. 29, 2013 at 11:10 PM

BUMP!

kcangel63
by Amanda on Apr. 30, 2013 at 12:08 AM
1 mom liked this
This is insane! There is a point where bullying crosses the line. However, this is getting to be like when they stopped letting teams have 'losers' and 'winners', giving everyone trophies, because it hurt the kids 'feelings'.

SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Apr. 30, 2013 at 12:17 AM

We don't have a right not to be offended.


Quoting kcangel63:

This is insane! There is a point where bullying crosses the line. However, this is getting to be like when they stopped letting teams have 'losers' and 'winners', giving everyone trophies, because it hurt the kids 'feelings'.



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