A New Jersey judged allowed a school district to add students as third-party defendants in a bullying case, a decision that could have greater effects on the way bullying is litigated.
- After a New Jersey teenager filed a lawsuit against two districts for allegedly not doing enough to intervene during eight years of bullying, the schools named nearly a dozen students and their parents as third-party defendants.
While schools and students have been co-defendants in bullying cases before, this is the first time a sued school has asked a judged to bring students into the case.
School bullying is a major issue, with so much depending on "he said, she said" back-and-forths. Since bullying is typically — though not always — between students, it makes sense to have students held accountable for their actions. That said, ultimately, schools have a responsibility to intervene and make sure the environment is a safe and nurturing one. The schools’ adding students as co-defendants may read as a shift in blame and culpability. Eight years is a very long time and while the students doing the bullying are to blame, there is a question of why the schools didn’t do anything to curb the bullying in that period of time.