RIDGEWOOD, N.J. – Ridgewood school officials tried to cover up a series of incidents in which a 14-year-old girl was cyber-bullied by another student and a boy who tried to defend her was severely beaten, a defense attorney said Thursday.
Another student “disseminated a private photograph of her via Snapchat to many students of the high school,” said defense lawyer Rosemarie Arnold, who filed a notice of intent to sue the school district and high school Thursday on behalf of the two students – while filing a separate suit for them against Snapchat.
“When her friend intervened to try to stop the bullying, he was beaten to a pulp by another student ,” Arnold said.
Arnold said she also filed suit against SNAP Inc., the Delaware-based parent of Snapchat, as well as 47 unidentified students who “instigated, incited, aided or abetted and filmed the beating of the victim.”
The notice of intent claims that the Ridgewood High School “did not implement proper social media and bullying policies and procedures in the wake of another incident reported 2 years ago when Ridgewood High School had a very similar problem with teen boys disseminating private photos of girls,” the lawyer said late Thursday afternoon.
It also accuses Ridgewood High School of “not enforcing the meager policies they had in existence -- therefore, students knew there were no penalties for violation of the policies, creating a culture of unrelenting bullying and harassment.”
Arnold also accused school and district officials with trying to cover up the incidents “to protect the school’s reputation and the reputation of the child of a teacher in the district.”
“Can you believe that the teen boy who admits he disseminated the private photo was ‘cleared’ of bullying by the school?” Arnold said.
“Do you think that because his mother is a teacher in the district that had something to do with it?” she asked.
Schools Supt. Daniel Fishbein said he had no comment on the pending litigation.
"My comments about the incidents are public and can be found on our district website," he told Daily Voice.
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