Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJ LAD), it’s illegal for a school — a “place of public accommodation” under New Jersey law — to permit or participate in discriminatory harassment or bullying of any student on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex or gender, sexual identity or expression, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, religion or creed, or cellular or blood trait, or because the student is perceived as belonging to one of the above categories, even if he or she really isn’t.
The State Of The Law
Although New Jersey maintains the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, this so-called “HIB” (harassment, intimidation and bullying) law does not, in and of itself, permit the family of a student subjected to sexual, racial or other discriminatory harassment to file a lawsuit for damages. The HIB law and the regulatory network that it sets up speak only to the manner in which schools appoint, educate and task anti-bullying specialists with regard to their duties in the schools. A lawsuit for discriminatory harassment cannot be filed under the HIB law.
At Costello & Mains, our school harassment, bullying and civil rights attorneys are among the most experienced in protecting students from discriminatory harassment based upon use of New Jersey civil rights laws. Costello & Mains has been at the tip of the spear since its founding in terms of aggressive protection of a student’s right to be free of a discriminatory, hostile, abusive or intimidating educational environment. If your child has been subjected to harassment of any kind and the school appears unwilling or unable to resolve the situation, call us at 856-291-0642 or contact us online.