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What can I do if my child is being bullied or harassed because of COVID-19? What if it’s at school?

Last Updated: 03/18/2021

Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), schools and other places of public accommodation must take action to stop harassment based on race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, and other protected characteristics if they know or should have known about it, even if the harasser is another student. These protections apply even if the conduct at issue stems from concerns related to COVID-19.

For example, if a classmate repeatedly tells your child that they must have COVID-19 because they are from China, the school could be liable if you reported it and the school did not investigate or take action.

Similarly, if someone on a public bus sees that you are wearing a yarmulke and starts screaming that "Jews are spreading the virus," the LAD requires the bus driver and bus company to take action to stop the harassment.

The LAD prohibits retaliation against a person for complaining about discrimination or bias-based harassment, or otherwise exercising or attempting to exercise their rights under the law.

If you believe your civil rights were violated, file a complaint with the Division on Civil Rights.

For more information about your protections against COVID-19-related harassment or discrimination, visit the Division on Civil Rights' Frequently Asked Questions on Civil Rights and COVID-19.