The Star-Ledger editorial, “Bullying: If schools are liable, parents can be, too” (March 31), appropriately raised warnings about using courts to hold parents of child bullies liable, but I disagree with the conclusion that some good can come from the threat of litigation.
The judicial system is well-suited for settling clearly defined disputes where a legal remedy is an adequate end to the situation. It is ill-prepared to establish and enforce standards of moral behavior in the schoolyard. Exposing schools and parents to liability for failing to stop a child bully is an invitation to litigation abuse that risks creating a legal industry aimed directly at the property taxpayer.
New Jersey is already one of the most litigious states, a fact that raises prices for every product we consume. Now we can expect to see rising property taxes to pay lawyers to settle our playground spats.
The courtroom should not resolve all disagreements. It is time we step back and think about what courts can and can’t do for us, what role state law should play in our moral lives, and what legacy we are leaving for the future.
Marcus Rayner, president, N.J. Civil Justice Institute