Black teenager was racist and sexist bullying in NJ middle school, parents say in lawsuit

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The parents of a 13-year-old black girl filed a discrimination complaint against a Bergen County school district, claiming their daughter had been tormented for months by a bully who hurled racist and sexist slurs at her.

The teenager, who recently completed her seventh grade at East Brook Middle School in Paramus, was repeatedly referred to as the “N word,” “black horse” and “hippo” by a boy in her class, according to the complaint filed July 28 at Superior. Bergen County Court.

The costume says the boy spread false rumors that the girl was promiscuous, booed while other students sang “Happy Birthday” to her, and once told her she couldn’t come to a seaside party. by the pool because “black girls are not allowed”.

The bully allegedly made a death threat against the young girl and showed up at her home, leaving a broken bottle in the family aisle, according to the prosecution.

The bullying began in September 2019 and continued until 2021, despite repeated complaints from his parents to school administrators and the borough police department, according to court documents.

The family moved from Jamaica to Bergen County in 2014 and the girl was the only black person in her class and one of five black students at the school, according to the costume.

The girl’s parents say the school principal and anti-bullying specialist investigated first, but then appeared to focus on the victim.

The director told the girl’s parents that while the alleged bully was “not completely innocent,” the victim “did not help herself,” the lawsuit says. The teenager “should remember that her behavior is the key to ending these incidents,” said the director, according to the trial.

“This is another example of the unacceptable and devastating blame to which (the girl) has been subjected by Paramus staff,” the lawsuit said.

In an email to NJ Advance Media on Monday, district officials said they “aggressively enforced” anti-bullying laws in all public schools in Paramus.

“Any complaint in which a student is suspected of being harassed, bullied or bullied is thoroughly investigated by district anti-bullying specialists, with prompt decisions and responses from the principal and board in accordance with state law, ”said school principal Sean. Adams.

“The board and administration have engaged the entire school community in their efforts to raise awareness of harassment, bullying and bullying in order to maintain a climate and culture of respect in schools in the district”, Adams said.

“The board is confident that their unwavering commitment to enforcing the Charter of Rights against bullying will be evident in this event,” said Adams.

The lawsuit accuses the district of violating New Jersey’s anti-racial and gender discrimination laws by failing to end the alleged harassment, aiding and abetting the bully, retaliation and violating the girl’s civil rights.

The lawsuit seeks a jury trial, as well as unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.

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Anthony G. Attrino can be reached at [email protected].


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