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School Pays $4.2M For School Bully's Punch

By Edward Tan, JD | Last updated on

A New Jersey school district has settled its bully punch lawsuit with a former student. Sawyer Rosenstein, 18, will be paid $4.2 million for a 2006 attack that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

At the time of the incident, Rosenstein was a 12-year-old student at Eric Smith Middle School. He had been victimized before the attack and even emailed school officials begging for help. Three months later, Rosenstein was punched in the stomach by a bully. The assault caused a clot in his artery, cutting blood to his spine and paralyzing him.

The Ramsey School District reached the settlement with Rosenstein over the course of two months. As for the bully, he didn't get off any easier.

Rosenstein settled out of court for an undisclosed amount with the bully's family. Following the attack, the bully had only received a few days suspension from the school.

New Jersey is one of many states that have recently enacted anti-bullying laws. Typically, these laws require school administrators to implement procedures to prevent bullying and be proactive in resolving any instances that occur.

Rosenstein's suit against the Ramsey School District alleged officials knew or should've known of his bully's violent tendencies. He also accused them of failing to comply with state anti-bullying laws.

Aside from his email to school administrators, Rosenstein also stated his bully had punched another student in the face on a school bus the previous year. He claims the school kept no record of the assault and failed to properly discipline the bully. Rosenstein pointed to this as evidence of the school's knowledge.

The settlement didn't include any admission of fault or liability from the district. Ramsey school officials haven't commented on the case.

Today, Sawyer Rosenstein is a communications major at Syracuse University. With his bully punch lawsuit behind him, he says all he can do now is look ahead.

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