TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taipei court has ordered a high school student and their parents to pay NT$70,000 (US$2,174) in compensation to a classmate bullied by the student in 2022.
The court ruling found that between May and July 2022, a high school student named Wang (王) posted photos of a classmate on Instagram, and repeatedly criticized their appearance and family background, per CNA. Wang also removed the student from a class Line group for the purpose of isolating them, the court said.
The bullied student’s parents argued that these actions had caused their child significant harm to their mental health, and said they had sought medical treatment to deal with this. The case they brought jointly against Wang and Wang's parents sought NT$400,000 in compensation.
Wang’s parents' defense said that words and posts criticizing appearance are subjective, and should be considered free speech. They said Wang was not able to force other students to isolate the bullied student, and said there was no legal wrongdoing.
The court took into consideration that Wang had written a letter of apology to the victim, and had gone through a disciplinary process at their school. It also accepted that following the bullying, the victim had transferred to another school, and their medical records showed evidence of significant mental harm.
However, the court also said that Wang’s bullying behavior was “slight,” and accepted relevant social dynamics at play in a high school social environment. The court ordered Wang and Wang's parents jointly responsible for paying NT$70,000 in compensation to the bullied student, in consideration of the impact on and actions of both parties.