The case is typical of a new type of legal phenomenon winding through New Jersey’s courts — one not entirely foreseen by many educators and legislators when the state enacted one of the most stringent anti-bullying laws in the country in 2011. The alleged bullies are filing appeals and their parents, often worried about a bullying charge staining a child’s school record, are getting involved in hearings before judges from the state Office of Administrative Law.

At least 16 students, parents or teachers have filed appeals with the commissioner of education since New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights took effect in fall 2011; two have been decided so far. An untold number of others — the state does not keep track — have challenged school bullying findings to their local school boards, the first step in the appeal process.