New Jersey Takes Steps to Protect Gay Students

TRENTON, N.J. – School districts in New Jersey have been mandated to protect students discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the state’s antidiscrimination law requires school districts to respond to harassment, its frequency and severity, and take into consideration the age of the child involved.

The ruling stems from the L.W. v. Board of Education of the Toms River Regional Schools case in which an anonymous student claims he had to change schools after he was harassed from fourth grade through high school with anti-homosexual taunts and two physical confrontations. The student’s mother filed a complaint with New Jersey’s Division on Civil Rights, which led to numerous appeals and eventually this latest ruling.

School board representatives are pleased with the ruling since it takes into account a student’s age and the circumstances of the harassment. One of nine states with laws protecting students from harassment based on sexual orientation, New Jersey first passed anti-bullying legislation in 2002.

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