TRENTON – A Middlesex County school district agreed to pay a former student $60,000 to resolve allegations the onetime student’s school failed to properly address complaints of alleged bullying, the state’s Office of the Attorney General announced Wednesday.
The Board of Education in Old Bridge agreed to the settlement after a former student alleged officials at Jonas Salk Middle School, and later Old Bridge High School, didn’t adequately deal with continued harassment. The allegations of harassment spanned more than three years, according to the acting attorney general.
“This is a fair settlement that resolves disturbing allegations — that a young man went to school each day for a period of years and, on many of those days, endured intense verbal harassment and even physical assaults,” Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said in a statement.
“No young person should be subjected to this kind of treatment. As we enter a new school year, hopefully this case will serve as a reminder that the state takes this issue very seriously,” he said.
As part of the settlement, the school district will pay the Division on Civil Rights $15,000, according to Hoffman. The settlement also calls for implementation of new anti-bullying policies within the district.
The alleged harassment was said to occur on and off school property, including on the school bus and on the Internet. It included name-calling, derogatory comments and physical contact.
In one incident, two students allegedly grabbed the bullied student in the school locker room and stuffed papers down his pants. In two other, unrelated incidents, he was shoved by other students. Allegedly, he was also a regular target for ethnic and sexual slurs.
The state enacted anti-bullying laws in March 2012.