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July 26, 2012 / Admin

Bullying Victim Settles with School District

Last week, the Ramsey School District (NJ) agreed to a $4.2 million settlement  to compensate a former middle school student left paralyzed after a pattern of bullying. The parents of the attacker reached an undisclosed settlement with the victim in 2010.

Four years prior to the incident at issue in the settlement, New Jersey passed a law directing all school districts to create and enforce policies targeted to reduce bullying during school time and on school property. The lawsuit alleged  Ramsey schools failed to record reports of bullying, escalate punishment for repeat bullies, or appoint staff to coordinate enforcement efforts.

In the case, Kenneth Major, a middle school classmate of victim Sawyer Rosenstein at Eric S. Smith Middle School, repeatedly harassed Rosenstein both physically and verbally (and reportedly bullied several other students) throughout the school year. Rosenstein reported the incidents and, in fact, emailed the school district to report an escalation of his bullying, to ask for help and to create a record in case something happened.

At some point during the school year, during a break in classes   Major allegedly punched Rosenstein, then 12, in the abdomen. The punch triggered a blot clot that migrated to Rosenstein’s spine, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down two days after the incident. Rosenstein underwent a series of surgeries in the six years that have passed since, including a complete spinal fusion, removal and re-fusion. He remains paralyzed for life.

New Jersey amended its existing law in 2007 to bring harassment through electronic communications within the ambit of the existing law and in 2011 created the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, which contained stricter reporting, procedural and enforcement requirements to ensure compliance in all school districts.

If you feel that your child may have been the victim of harassment or bullying in school contact Khorrami, LLP for more information.
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