Public schools

Calling a Classmate a 'Fat Ass' Is Now a Courtroom Matter in New Jersey


Reason 24/7

Having turned harsh words between kids into grounds for formal legal action, New Jersey officials are now astonished that children and families on the receiving end of bullying charges are actually making use of the tools at their disposal to defend themselves. In application, this means that judges, attorneys and educrats are wasting time in court parsing the offensiveness of calling a classmate a "fat ass." Actual quote from the Ridgewood school board attorney during a courtroom proceeding: "There is no evidence she condoned being called a horse."

From the Star-Ledger:

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.

While the overall number may be a small percentage of the more than 12,000 instances of bullying reported in New Jersey schools in the law's first year, a review by The Star-Ledger of appeals showed the issues can get complicated. Many cases involve social media or electronic communication; some pertain to events that did not take place at school. Incidents range from elementary to high school.

Question for legislators and public school apparatchiks: You really didn't see this coming when you put name-calling into the law books? Damn, you're stupid. Whoops! Good thing I'm not in a classroom.

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  1. New Jersey makes California look like Texas.

    1. At least we have nice weather, beaches, and lots of ethnically diverse, beautiful women.

      Does New Jersey have any redeeming features?

      1. That double sexy governor!

      2. lots of ethnically diverse, beautiful women.

        Don’t you go to UCLA? How “ethnically diverse” does Asian get?

        1. Cambodians, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and of course those delicious Koreans.

          1. ^THIS^

            Celebrate diversity.

            1. Why would I want a diverse group of non-gingers?

              1. I can’t help it if my penis isn’t bigoted.


          2. They all look the same to me.

            1. They all look the same to me.

              Growing up in Orange County has at least enabled me to tell them all apart, even by the sound of their language.

              1. Language is the easiest way to tell them apart. My Chinese wife can’t tell the difference between Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese by appearance.

                1. And she’s not alone. She’s had many people try to speak Korean to her.

                2. My Chinese wife can’t tell the difference between Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese by appearance.

                  In my experience, southern Chinese are clearly different looking than northern Chinese. Koreans, and Japanese. Of course ethnically Korean Chinese and Japanese just add to the headache.

                3. So how do you, or her, know she’s Chinese?

            2. I can usually tell if someone’s Japanese and I can almost always tell if someone’s Filipino. Southeast Asians also look different from Koreans and Chinese people, but I can’t really them apart.

              Although I’m not really sure why only Asians get this stereotype. While you might be able to tell what part of Europe someone (or their ancestors) is from by looking at them, you can’t tell definitively what country

              1. What, are you saying all white people look alike? RACIST!

                1. All I know is asians are tough to play hold’em with. They don’t expose a lot of eye.

        2. I thought he was at UCI, it’s even more Asian-ey.

          1. So I’m staying at a hotel near Irvine, and I notice that nearly everyone there is a middled aged Japanese sarariman. I just figured there was just some tech convention of some kind in the area. But that evening a bus showed up full of college aged Japanese girls dressed in very stereoptypical Japanese schoolgirl uniforms. And they start mingling with the men. WTF?

            So I asked the bartender at the hotel lounge what was going on. “Are they hookers?” I asked. He laughed and said the men had flown here from Japanese to look for wives, and these were the candidates.

            It still blows my mind thinking abou tit.

            1. It still blows my mind thinking abou tit.

              You don’t say.

            2. LOL “sarariman”. Gets me every time.

        3. Don’t you go to UCLA? How “ethnically diverse” does Asian get?

          UC Irvine, which I think has more Asians than any other college in country. But go down to the beach and you’ll see plenty of attractive white, Hispanic, and Asian girls in bikinis.

          1. Laguna Beach is consistently easy on the eyes.

            1. Bah, what would you know about it?

              1. That was an entirely gender neutral statement. Besides that, I can still tell a hot woman when I see one, I just wouldn’t be interested in sheathing my sword in her.

                1. There’s plenty for everyone at the beach, regardless of your preference.

      3. Except for an occasional bad winter, New Jersy also has nice weather, beaches, and lots of ethnically diverse, beautiful women.

        1. lots of ethnically diverse, beautiful women.

          White, Irish, and Italian?

          1. Don’t forget Jewish!

            1. Love those nails!

              1. Say what you want about Fran Drescher, but she’s seen some shit in her life, man.

                1. Yeah, for a celebrity, she’s lived through some crap–not the usual self-imposed crap, either.

            2. Just about every stereotype about New Jerseyans would be more accurate if it referenced Staten Islanders. It’s fascinating.

          2. Don’t forget Guido.

      4. Hey, we have beaches and lots of ethnically diverse, beautiful women. I’ll concede the weather; this place is a swamp, after all.

    2. I’m not sure who that sentence insults?

      1. I imagine Texans are whetting their Bowie knives.

  2. The liberal solution for everything: CRIMINALIZE IT!

    1. Ban it!

      Regulate it!

      Set it free!

  3. If only there was some sort of written protection that prevented the state from stopping people from saying things, no matter how offensive.

    Nah, that’s stupid. Let’s just take more guns.

    1. We’ve still got the 3rd amendment, and that ain’t bad!

      1. That is what you think – I’ll be in your guest room, shortly.

  4. one not entirely foreseen by many educators and legislators when the state enacted one of the most stringent anti-bullying laws in the country

    Is anyone else sick and tired of media types reporting that something wasn’t “foreseen” when there’s this rag-tag group of 22 or so people on Hit&Run; who almost always “foresee” this bullshit?

    Next time a law is passed, come talk to one of us.

    1. Nice try, Debbie Downer. You would just tell them not to pass the law in the first place. How would problems get solved without government smart guy?

      1. Just imagining a city council made of of those 22 or so Hit and Runners. The council meeting minutes would make for some interesting reading.

        1. The first fifteen minutes of every meeting would consist of the Passing Of the Joint.

          1. As long as we end every meeting with the sacrifice of a male ginger.

            1. Are we talking Prince Harry gingers or are we talking Carrot Top gingers? If the former you can feel free to sacrifice them by leaving them chained in my bedchambers, if the latter feel free to kill it with fire.

      2. solved without government smart guy?

        Personally, I think government smart guy is the problem.

        Everyone keeps telling me, “Don’t worry, the government smart guy is spearheading the regulatory effort, and government smart guy is really smart!”

        I’m sick of government smart guy.

        1. Some of the dumbest people I have ever met have been smart guys. Really. And there’s a reason for it, they grew up with everyone telling them they’re smart and never learned that they might actually be wrong, never learned to get help from other people. It’s what happens when you wrap someone with constant esteem boosting their entire lives.

          These folks are fine when they’re techie nerds and you can distract them with fusball tables in the break room. But when they grow up to be political wonks and start glomming onto other political wonks, they’re supremely dangerous.

  5. Hmm, sounds like Christie is sensitive about his weight.

  6. I was a stockbroker once upon a time and trained at corporate headquarters in downtown New Jersey, i.e. Weeeeeeeehawken. What seems so strange to me is that some of the sweetest most down to earth people I met while there were the people from New Jersey and New York. Yet they have the nuttiest laws I’ve ever heard of. There really must be something in the water there.

    1. There really must be something in the water there.

      Lots of public employees/public employee unions.

      1. Yeah, I kind of see it this way. There are states (california) and municipalities which are essentially run by professional “community activists and apparatchiks..

        Because they’re “involved” in everything politically, they wield an unusual amount of power, and punch way above their weight in matters of policy and election results.

        Seattle is similar. They elect a Mayor like Greg Nickels– who proceeds to go apeshit on a national Green anti-global warming agenda, but yet you can’t even get across town because the streets aren’t clear of snow.

        He gets thrown out of office in an election that he doesn’t even get a top-two showing in– surprising the national coucil of mayors or whatever the hell it was, because they thought he was really popular and he had such a popular national image!

        Then Seattle votes another community activist into power who proceeds to fuck up every street and traffic line-painting scheme with non-sensical bike lanes because his transportation secretary is a Critical Mass biking activist.

        Needless to say, he’s not so popular now, but yet we’ll keep reelecting these guys again and again.

        Ok, I’m done ranting now.

        1. Seattle keeps reelecting those guys because the only other option are eebil rethuglicans.

          1. Why don’t the rethuglicans just start running as Democrats in all these one party cities?

            1. In very progressive Mountain View, CA (home of The Google), one council member is a Libertarian, and the ex mayor was a mostly conservative decline-to-state. There’s no way in hell you can get elected if you’re a Republican, but as long as you don’t have an (R) after your voter registration the media won’t pick up on it and start raising a stink against you.

  7. As Friday nut punches go, this is weak sauce.

    I hope JD has something awful and inhuman coming up in the next hour or two, because if I have to endure the drive home without being pissed, I’m going to be pissed.

    1. You could just listen to NPR or your local sports radio show’s draft coverage if you want to be pissed off on the drive home.

    2. *notes An0nB0t’s sexual preference as extreme masochism*

      What urban area are you in so I can avoid the roads?

      1. We are An0nb0t. We are Legion. We are everywhere and anywhere. This one is in the Nashville area, though, which means that being a drunken, pissed-off libertarian puts me in the fifth percentile of competent drivers.

        1. I have vague plans to visit Nashville in the near future. I may pester you for recommendations if those plans ever become concrete.

          1. Sure thing.

  8. It is said that New Yorkers appear angry all the time because the light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey.

  9. Of course the part they neglect to mention is that the term used was actually “phat ass,” and it was a compliment referring to the student’s twerking ability.

    1. For some reason I have reservations about clicking on that link.

      1. Do it.

        1. I guess your kid’s not around anymore lol.

  10. But in New Jersey I can still call someone racist or sexist and they still have to immediately apologize and pay me money, right? I mean PC bullying is still OK isn’t it?

  11. I for one am not surprised that the government of New Jersey would take a dim view of calling someone a fat ass. Its chief executive is America’s most famous fat ass. So of course the state would take this seriously.

    1. 35 comments before someone made a single Chris Christie joke. What happened to the Hit and Run I used to know?

      1. I was busy doing actual work for a bit.

        Plus there was alt-text on this article.

      2. I made a Christie joke already.

        1. I see that now. Thanks for upholding the board’s honor.

        2. Wasn’t it The Sandlot, where they called the fat kid “Fat ass” the entire movie?

          1. All I really remember from Sandlot is that when they hit the ball over the fence one of the kids yells “Oh shit!” and I got in trouble for repeating that within earshot of my parents.

  12. OK wow, now thats just messed up man. Stupid court system.

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