Montclair family claims school district failed to address bullying of their daughter

MONTCLAIR, New Jersey (WABC) -- A family in Montclair is accusing their school district of doing nothing to protect their daughter from bullies, who taunted her with racial slurs.

Everything that is wonderful and beautiful about a young girl coming of age, can sadly be used as weapons against them by their peers.

"They were posting memes and words calling her burnt toast, blackie, sharpie, calling her wig girl or weave girl because her hair texture is thick," mother Natalie Hackett said.

Hackett says this is just a sample of the bullying and intimidation her 12-year-old daughter suffered as a 7th grader at Buzz Aldrin Middle School in Montclair.

Screenshots from a chat group created in 2018 shows messages sent specifically to be mean spirited.

One message reads, 'looks like you jumped in a bucket of black paint'.

"She didn't respond much," Hackett said. "When I asked her why she didn't tell me at first, she said that she was afraid."

Hackett wasn't afraid and reported the incident.

She says a handful of students were disciplined, but says other students in the chat weren't.

Now, after two years of complaints she says the district didn't adequately address, she plans to file a suit against the Montclair Public School District.

"If they had nipped it in the bud initially and done its job, handed out the proper discipline and properly enforced the policy about harassment and bullying it would have ended with five children or six children rather than see 30 children getting involved because there are no repercussions," family attorney Jeffrey Youngman said.

The district says it investigates all allegations of intimidation and released a written statement:

"There are age-appropriate consequences for students found to have violated our policies," the school district said.

Hackett says she feels helpless, hurt and angry.

"I'm very upset over this because what they're doing is not right," Hackett said.

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