NEW JERSEY LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

Dr. Rodriguez Rust is an anti-bullying expert, not an attorney. Schools should seek advice on recommended practices for addressing bullying from an anti-bullying expert, i.e., a person with a professional degree in a field of behavioral science, e.g., social work, sociology, or psychology, and should seek legal advice from an attorney. The two sources of advice must be merged to ensure legal compliance as well as effective bullying prevention. Anti-bullying experts should not provide legal advice, and attorneys should not provide advice on recommended strategies for bullying prevention and response. No information about the law provided in this website constitutes legal advice, and no guarantee is offered with regard to information about the law provided on this website.

Any incident in which one student bullies, harasses, or intimidates another might be covered under any one of several segments of State and Federal law. With respect to New Jersey State law, an incident might invoke educational law (Title 18A), civil law (Title 10), and/or criminal law (Title 2C). Civil law includes the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJ LAD). The NJ LAD covers public schools as places of public accommodation, and prohibits discrimination on the basis of a number of different "enumerated classifications." The following text is the statute as published on the New Jersey Permanent Statutes Database, at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/

10:5-4  Obtaining employment, accommodations and privileges without discrimination; civil right.

All persons shall have the opportunity to obtain employment, and to obtain all the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of any place of public accommodation, publicly assisted housing accommodation, and other real property without discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, affectional or sexual orientation, familial status, disability, nationality, sex, gender identity or expression or source of lawful income used for rental or mortgage payments, subject only to conditions and limitations applicable alike to all persons.  This opportunity is recognized as and declared to be a civil right.

Note that sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are each individually enumerated; see the LGBTQI section of this website for explanations of the differences between these three concepts, and for discussions of the applicability of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights to anti-LGBTQI bullying.

The L.W. vs Toms River Regional case is an important case involving the obligation of schools to protect the safety of LGBT students by addressing environmental biases and addressing anti-LGBT bullying. The 2007 decision of the Supreme Court of New Jersey can be found here, and the Final Decision & Order by the NJ Office of the Attorney General can be found here; clicking on these links will take you out of the Spectrum Diversity website, directly to the pdfs. Your backpage button will bring you back to the Spectrum Diversity website.