NJ Judge Agrees If You Raise An Awful Monster Bully You Should Pay For It

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nj judgeA New Jersey judge is allowing parents of alleged bullies to be sued. If the only way to get teenagers to stop acting like abusive jerks is to reach into their parents’ pockets – I guess that’s what is going to have to happen.

The judge is allowing 11 teens and their parents to become third-party defendants. It’s the first time a New Jersey judge has been asked by a school district to add students as defendants in a bullying case.

“As difficult as it is for my client, we’re very pleased with the message that the decision sends,” said Brian Cige, a lawyer for the now-18-year-old plaintiff identified in court documents only by his initial, V.B. “There needs to be personal responsibility for both kids and their parents for their behavior.”

The plaintiff contends he was tormented throughout his time at Hunterdon Central school district – from fourth grade until last year, when he graduated early rather than stick around to be abused by his classmates. He claims to have repeatedly asked for help from school officials – help he never got.

“I think that this is going to have a serious impact on public policy and social policy in terms of how parents raise their children and how they supervise their children,” said Robert Gold, the lawyer for Hunterdon Central.

The school claims to have notified parents of children accused of bullying the plaintiff, but one of the lawyers of a teen named in the lawsuit says that isn’t true. His says his client denies the bullying charges and that his parents were never informed.

Taking these types of legal measures may seem extreme, but if it changes the way parents and schools respond to bullying – I’m all for it. I’m always shocked by the amount of adults who simply don’t care when children are tormented at school or chalk it up to the kids needing to “toughen up.”

I think we’d all agree that high school is hell and kids can be really, really mean. Just because it’s something we’ve all lived through, doesn’t mean we should fail to recognize how drastically the landscape has changed for our kids. Technology is taking bullying to the nth degree. There are situations where bullied kids can literally never escape their tormentors. If a kid is saying “help me,” there is never an excuse for that help not to be there. Hopefully a possibly litigious outcome will make schools and parents demand accountability and decency from these bullies.

Kids are depressed, they’re tormenting themselves with eating disorders and anxiety – and in some cases even committing suicide. This is not okay. There needs to be measures in place that ensure parents are informed and the school is listening. Maybe something like this will get us there.

(photo: Andrey_Popov/ Shutterstock)