All children, including those with special needs, now have the legal right to be safe from bullying – and this includes cyberbullying. Following the 2011 New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, school districts have strict legal obligations when it comes to the investigation and enforcement of anti-bullying protocols. Parents have the right to request, defend or appeal any formal bullying investigation or decision.
Bullying is a serious issue. A student who is the target of bullying may have trouble concentrating in school, may struggle to access their education, and may experience emotional or psychological deterioration. Similarly, a child accused of HIB (“Harassment, Intimidation or Bullying”) may face various negative consequences. A child with a disabling condition may be more likely to be the target of bullying and/or accused of bullying. In that instance, inappropriate behaviors may be the result of the disabling condition.
Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler works with all families whose children are involved in bullying matters as either victims or alleged violators of school anti-bullying policies. Bullying can be a devastating experience for any child and could result in long term consequences. Fortunately, due to the vulnerability of children with special needs, they receive extra protection under the law. Parents of all children involved in bullying matters can invoke a variety of laws, and parents of children with special needs are afforded protection under laws that have been written specifically to protect children with disabilities who are bullied.
Check out our blog on bullying for more information. If you have questions about how HIB policy and procedures in your district may impact your child’s education and future, contact our office today.