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Assault at Allentown High School sheds new light on issue of school bullying

There are still many questions and concerns about an assault that happened at Allentown High School.

News 12 Staff

Jan 6, 2023, 1:22 AM

Updated 562 days ago

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There are still many questions and concerns about an assault that happened at Allentown High School.
News 12 New Jersey first reported about the incident on Wednesday. The mother of a 14-year-old freshman says that her daughter was assaulted in the school bathroom by another 14-year-old girl. That fight was recorded on video and passed around.
Fights inside of schools are nothing new, but with so many of them now being filmed and posted on social media, some are left wondering if this is normal teenage behavior, bullying or something criminal.
These types of incidents are usually not considered bullying under New Jersey state law.
“If we are looking at a video and we see one girl being attacked by another girl, and we don’t have more context or history, we can’t really say that it’s bullying,” says Stu Green, of the Anti-Bullying Task Force.
Green says that schools are obligated to investigate the claims and to understand the relationships and history between the students.
“The common fault in the way schools approach these issues is that typically they don’t take responsibility,” he says.
Parents of the students who were victims say that it is a failure of both the school district and law enforcement who are not tough enough with the consequences.
“My daughter was physically assaulted at school, and nothing has really been done about it,” said Rebecca Diaz, whose daughter was the student assaulted at Allentown High School. “They should have said, ‘[Her attacker] did commit a crime and she should be punished for that crime.”
Nivii Bruce, who counsels schools with CarePoint NJ says much of the solution depends on the mental health of the students, especially as they deal with adjusting to life post-COVID-19 pandemic.
“Addressing potential issues that might come around again that’s related to that. How do they deal with the people who are involved or how do they take care of themselves? How do they manage their emotions?” Bruce says.
Green says he hopes things change. But he also has a warning.
“We know most schools, including in New Jersey, do not adequately address these issues,” Green says.
He says often the teens who bully or attack others, do so for social status and power.


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