- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

SOMERVILLE, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey judge has ruled that the parents of alleged bullies cannot be held financially liable for their children’s actions.

The ruling came Monday in a lawsuit against the Flemington-Raritan and Central Regional School Districts by the family of a boy who claims to have been bullied by others, saying the schools did not do enough to stop it despite years of complaints.

The school districts attempted to have the parents of 13 alleged bullies held responsible for negligence, arguing that parents share responsibility for their children’s actions even when they’re at school.

Their children are accused of making fun of the boy’s weight, using anti-gay slurs, throwing pasta at him and pulling down his pants. The lawsuit from the alleged victim, now a teenager, did not seek to hold individual classmates responsible.

But Superior Court Judge Yolanda Ciccone said they can’t be pulled into the case directly, finding that parental negligence cannot be presumed but rather must be proven. She ruled that the districts could pursue claims against five of the students themselves for an incident that happened when the boy was in middle school. Three of the students are accused of assault and battery and two of battery.

If those claims are successful, those students’ parents could still be forced to pay.

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