Justice: NJ Attorney General finds that school failed to protect gay kid from bullies

Tue. November 23, 2010 12:46 PM by GoPride.com News Staff

Emerson, N.J. - For six years, "J.C." underwent non-stop bullying at middle and high school in Emerson, New Jersey.

He was physically attacked, kids called him "homo" and "fag," other students came up with a social networking page that described his gender as "unknown," and passed around drawings showing him having sex with another man.

Additionally, one student, identified as "M.F.," threatened to shoot J.C. The police were called, and M.F. was placed in a psych ward after numerous guns and knives were found at his house. However, even though the district promised J.C. and his family that he wouldn't have any contact with M.F., the two students had several classes together the next year.

In spite of all the violence and threats, a new report by New Jersey Attorney General finds that the Emerson School District virtually failed to do anything about it. "J.C." eventually dropped out and started homeschooling.

"Despite the ostensible existence of a 'zero tolerance' policy regarding such conduct, his fellow students routinely subjected him to the kind of torment no one should have to endure," said Attorney General Paula Dow in a press release.

"J.C.'s parents reported at least 17 instances of harassment to Emerson school officials, yet the parents of students implicated in those incidents were not contacted," said the official report. "In addition, it appears from records maintained by the school district that meaningful discipline was rarely imposed."

The Emerson School District denies the charges, and claims that the bullying was dealt with in an appropriate way. However, they weren't able to provide the Attorney General's office with meaningful supporting documentation.

The report notes that the district and every person named in the report could face fines of up to $10,000 and will also probably face civil lawsuits.