There are instances where an individual’s First Amendment Right to Free Speech may run into conflict with New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights (“ABR”). The ABR makes incidents of harassment, bullying and/or intimidation unlawful in certain settings and requires school districts to prevent and punish such incidents. The question thus becomes, what speech is an example of harassment, bullying and/or intimidation and is such speech otherwise protected under the First Amendment? This article addresses how, from both a practical and legal standpoint, the ABR can be administered to prevent running afoul of the First Amendment.
This article was written by Luanne Peterpaul, Esq. and Michael H. Ansell, Esq. and was originally published in the June 2013 issue of New Jersey Lawyer Magazine, a publication of the New Jersey State Bar Association, and is reprinted here with permission.