The Franklin Township Board of Education in New Jersey has agreed to pay an African-American student $75,000 stemming from the racist bullying she reportedly experienced while attending an elementary school in the district.
Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman and the Division on Civil Rights confirmed the settlement on Tuesday and added that a $2,500 fund was also being created to combat bullying.
The student, whose name has not been released, attended the district’s Main Road School from third to sixth grade. During that time she claims to have been the target of racist remarks which continued throughout her years at the school.
“This settlement represents a fair resolution to a disturbing matter,” said Hoffman. “As we begin another school year, this case should serve as a reminder to school districts throughout the state that they have a duty to New Jersey’s children to create and maintain a bullying-free learning environment, and that they have a legal responsibility when confronted with reports that a student is being bullied to take affirmative steps ‘reasonably calculated’ to end the conduct.”
Still, the school district maintains that “any incidents of harassment or bullying reported by the student were investigated immediately by administrators and acted on appropriately.”
This statement seems to contradict that of the girl’s parents, who insist that they contacted the school numerous times about the harassment.
“While the district in this case did take some action in response to the parents’ complaints, the Division on Civil Rights determined in its Finding of Probable Cause that the actions taken were not effective since the harassment recurred and, in fact, became more severe,” the release concludes.