In New Jersey, pressure is mounting on parents to prevent bullying.
In what is being called a landmark ruling, a New Jersey court has ruled that school districts that are being sued by the parents of bullying victims can in turn sue the bullies and their families. The case will likely draw national interest in the coming weeks as school districts across the country have been dealing with an expanded focus on the internet, social media and cyberbullying.
Attorneys involved in the New Jersey case in weighed in on the significance for parents across the state:
“Attorneys involved in the case say the decision by Judge Yolanda Ciccone — the assignment judge for Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren counties — could spur similar suits across the state.
They say it also delivers a strong message that parents may be held legally liable when their children taunt, tease or physically harass classmates.”
The primary goal in any bullying incident, cyberbullying or otherwise, is to have the bullying behavior stop. Examining the facts to find out how the behavior could have been avoided is a reasonable learning experience. It would be nice to accomplish that without the need for or possibility of wide-ranging lawsuits.
That being said, we do believe that parents are not only critical to stopping bullying before it happens, but also to dealing with students that have been accused or found guilty of bullying in a way that ensures more responsible behavior.
The court of popular opinion already doesn’t look too kindly on parents of the worst kinds of bullies. If the courts of New Jersey are also going to hold parents responsible for their kids’ behavior, perhaps parents will go to greater lengths at home to make sure that bullying doesn’t happen in the first place.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.