Like employees in a workplace, students have the right to attend school without being subjected to repeated taunts from other children, the New Jersey Supreme Court said yesterday. The Newark Star-Ledger says the ruling makes school districts responsible for stopping bias-based harassment. The sweeping decision favored a Toms River student who complained he was slapped, punched, and repeatedly taunted by classmates who perceived him as gay.
“Students in the classroom are entitled to no less protection from unlawful discrimination and harassment than their adult counterparts in the workplace,” wrote Chief Justice James Zazzali. An American Civil Liberties Union official said the ruling “ensures that students are protected from bias-based bullying, whether on the basis of sexual orientation, race, religion, gender or any other protected category under the law.”