Parents of a sixth grader given detention for bullying a vegetarian classmate have cost a school district $8,000 in legal fees, following multiple appeals.

The New Jersey Commissioner of Educations office recently ruled that harassment and intimidation of students on the basis of their vegetarianism is a form of bullying. The decision comes down in response to an October 2014 incident in which a New Jersey sixth grader was disciplined after telling a vegetarian classmate that €œits not good to not eat meat,€ that €œhe should eat meat because hed be smarter and have bigger brains,€ and €œvegetarians are idiots.€ The parents of the child€”who received five lunchtime detentions€”made a number of appeals to the Board of Education and the states Commissioner of Education during 2015 before Administrative Law Judge John S. Kennedy ruled in March that vegetarianism is a €œdistinguishing characteristic€ and bullying based on this characteristic violates the states Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act. The school district reportedly spent nearly $8,000 in legal fees on the case€”the parents of the disciplined child plan not to petition for more appeals.