Nearly two years and $8,000 in legal fees later, a New Jersey school district officially has the right to give detention to an 11-year-old who insulted a classmate for being a vegetarian. The Asbury Park Press reports the bizarre case started in October 2014 when two sixth-graders were having lunch at Lower Middle School in Montgomery. One of the students—CC in court documents—told a vegetarian classmate—KS in court documents—that "vegetarians are idiots" and he "should eat meat because he'd be smarter and have bigger brains." The school's guidance counselor felt that met the state's definition of bullying, and the superintendent agreed. CC was given lunchtime detentions. Then his parents appealed the punishment.
The case's first stop was the school board, which ruled detention was appropriate. But CC's parents weren't satisfied, and the case worked its way up to the state's commissioner of education. At question was whether being a vegetarian is a "distinguishing characteristic" as required by the state's definition of bullying. The commissioner's office ruled it is, citing other examples of bullying, such as saying a student "sucks at basketball" or is a "fat-ass." Lower Middle School was vindicated in giving CC detention for his anti-vegetarian comments, and it only cost $7,763 in legal fees to get there. (Read more bullying stories.)