The New Jersey Commissioner of Education's Office has concluded that it is bullying to call vegetarians "idiots" and that it is perfectly okay for a school to give a student weeks of detentions for it.
The Asbury Park Press reports that in October 2014, two New Jersey sixth-graders at Montgomery's Lower Middle School, identified as C.C. and K.S. in court papers, were eating lunch when C.C. told K.S., who is a vegetarian, that he needed to "eat meat because he’d be smarter and have bigger brains" and "vegetarians are idiots."
These comments were enough to warrant C.C. being slapped with a punishment of five detentions during lunch, where he would have to discuss his comments to school staff to ensure he wouldn't offend anyone else in the future. To make matters worse, the Montgomery Township School Board determined that C.C.'s comments–especially when he said that K.S.'s response was "amusing"–were indicative of "harassment, intimidation, or bullying" because they were directed at a "distinguishing characteristic" of K.S. and "substantially interfered with the rights of K.S. and had the effect of insulting or demeaning him."
C.C.'s parents took umbrage with the school's ruling and appealed it on the grounds that being a vegetarian is not a "distinguishing characteristic" under state law. An administrative law judge ruled that being a vegetarian is in fact a "distinguishing characteristic," citing the precedent of saying a student "sucks at basketball" is bullying because it's targeting a student's height; calling a student a "fat-ass" has also been ruled as bullying.
The New Jersey Commissioner of Education's Office has given the approval for the school district to give detention to C.C. for his vegetarian comments, and his parents will not appeal the ruling.
(h/t: The Blaze)