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Schools

LAWSUIT: Randolph High Grad Says 17 Students Were Victims Of TikTok Bullying

TikTok
TikTok Photo Credit: Pixabay

A 2020 graduate of Randolph High School has filed a lawsuit against the district claiming that officials neglected to investigate a series of TikTok bullying videos that targeted 17 students.

Darcy Schleifstein says the students were the subjects of three videos involving bullying and harassment on the social media platform: “Criminals of Randolph," "Liberals of Randolph" and "Whores of Randolph,” DailyRecord reports citing court records. 

District officials reportedly knew of the bullying several weeks before the three clips surfaced but neglected to notify the targeted students their parents, according to the suit, filed in state superior court.

Each of the videos, made last April, depict Schleifstein and other student victims while a narration "insulted, ridiculed, disparaged and made discriminatory remarks,” the suit says.

Schleifstein didn’t view the videos until the end of May 2020, when her parents were contacted by a family friend, the suit says.

Matthew Pfouts, the district’s communications and digital media director, was not able to comment on the complaint citing privacy concerns but reiterated the schools’ bullying policy.

Randolph Police investigated the incident after receiving notification from district officials, but the final details were not released, the complaint says.

"I can assure you that the board has always taken allegations of bullying very seriously and will continue to abide by the laws designed to ensure a safe learning environment," said Pfouts.

Schleifstein’s parents filed an HIB (harassment, intimidation and bullying) complaint with the district on June 1 and sent a letter alleging a history of anti-Semitism and racism among the schools to the office of New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, the report says.

Superintendent Jennifer Fano said she was “not even made aware” that parents of the victims weren’t notified at the time.

"I do find this issue extremely important,” Fano said in a June 5 email to Schleifstein’s parents.

“I have inquired about why immediate notification to the parents did not occur. In fact, I was not even made aware of the situation at the time.”

The lawsuit further states that the district had received prior complaints about the student who created the TikTok clips and still failed to act accordingly.

"The high school administration mistakenly believed that they should not report the matter to the parents of the students involved," said an October email from the Attorney General's Office that is cited in the lawsuit.

"The high school administration is now fully aware that unless law enforcement directs otherwise, parents should immediately be notified if their children are the alleged victims of potential harassment, intimidation and bullying or any other offenses."

The suit seeks attorney fees, unspecified punitive and compensatory damages and other costs.

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