A federal judge has ordered a hearing to determine if a 12-year-old girl with learning disabilities was deprived of “a free and appropriate education” by the constant bullying she allegedly endured at a Manhattan public school.

“[A]n effective and appropriate education may be negated by child bullying,” Eastern District Judge Jack B. Weinstein wrote in L.K. v. New York City Department of Education, 10-cv-00752. “When a school fails to take reasonable steps to prevent such objectionable harassment of a student, it has denied her an educational benefit protected by statute.”