Can we sue a school due to bullying? 17 Answers as of July 03, 2013There is a very large group of parents who want to sue our school district for allowing our children to be bullied on a daily basis. These kids have been physically attacked, physically held against their will, received death threats, received threats of physical harm, cyber-bullied, tormented by horrible name calling, lies and rumors, basically any way of being bullied these kids have endured it. The school is well aware of these incidents. We, as parents, have taken text messages, Facebook posts, letters, voice mails and any other evidence to the school. One incident with my daughter was actually caught on school 'security' cameras. The incident involved 15 girls surrounding my daughter in the school hallway, screaming, getting in her face, threatening to 'jump her' and the school did NOTHING about it! The other parents have all had very similar incidents with their children. Some of these kids are in counseling, some have already been pulled from the school, and some have missed so much school from being afraid to go that they may not graduate on time. We have gone up the chain of command: Dean of Students, Vice Principal, Principal, Deputy Superintendent, Superintendent, and the district's President of the Board of Education. Some of these wouldn't even speak with us to address our concerns. We have also been to the local Police Department who informed us that this is a 'school situation' and that the school will have to deal with it. Something has to be done. These kids are being tormented on a daily basis and the school is allowing it. Can we sue the district? If so, what kind of an attorney do we need?
McKell Christiansen | Michael McKell
In Utah it is very difficult to sue for bullying. Unfortunately, governmental immunity exist where an injury arises from an assault or battery. The law is well settled in this area. In the case of Ledfords v. Emery County School District a student had been bullied continually for a period of time. The bullying was brought to the attention of the school who did not act. Eventually the student was injury as a result of the bullying. The court determined the Emery County School District was immune from a lawsuit because the injury arose from an assault or battery. I would suggest trying to bring an action against the bully's family directly as this claim would not be immune. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to collect a monetary settlement because the actions of the bully would likely be excluded from insurance coverage because the conduct to bully other students would be considered intentional.
Answer Applies to: Utah
R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
You can sue a school district for negligence. RCW 4.08.120. (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=4.08.120). See also cases, i.e. CHAPPEL v. FRANKLIN PIERCE SCHOOL DISTRICT, 71 Wn.2d 17 (1967) (http://www.mrsc.org/wa/courts/index_dtSearch.html). You need a personal injury attorney.
Answer Applies to: Washington
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
Suing the school is one possibility. Governmental entities have some degree of immunity [cannot be sued] for certain types of actions. HOWEVER, parents are responsible for their children. They can be sued as well. So can the kids. There are also restraining orders as to the bullying kids which can be obtained. The TROs could be expanded to include the bullies' parents should that become a necessity. The TROs probably do not, of themselves, stop much. The enforcement can. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
AyerHoffman, LLP | David C. Ayer
Whether you can sue the school district will depend on the school district's policies on bullying, its history of receiving complaints, and a number of other factors. A personal injury attorney with experience in litigating against municipalities, particularly schools, will be your best bet. You may also sue the bullies. High school students are not immune from suit. A judgment is good in Massachusetts for 20 years and enforcement may be sought at any time.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Wooten, Kimbrough & Normand, P.A. | Orman Kimbrough, Esq.
A school and/or school board has a responsibility to provide reasonable safety to its students. This includes supervising all of the students in its care which results in protection to all. From the information provided, the employees of the school have failed to provide safety to the students by failing to adequately supervise and control them. You should consult with a personal injury attorney who can review the details with you and other parents and make particular recommendations including the considerations of filing a lawsuit.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine | Richard Martin
Many jurisdictions recognize a cause of action against school authorities or entities for failing to provide a safe learning environment. You need to consult a trial attorney experienced in civil matters to evaluate the facts of your case.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
You need a lawyer who is part junk yard dog and perhaps sue the school board and all of the individuals who have ignored your pleas for help. Seems like you have done all the reasonable things. You might want to get some of your folks to run for the school board and get rid of the problem people that way.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
J Wayne Turley BC | Wayne Turley
There are some things you can do. First, for the bullying that rises to the level of a criminal act, assault, battery, threats of harm, etc., you should call the police and report it every time it occurs. Ask them to take action. You could also call the County Attorney's office in the county where you live and ask if they will investigate the crimes and bring charges against the kids who are doing the crimes. Besides the criminal acts, you could also pursue a civil claim for negligence against the school district. You could also consider civil claims against the kids and their parents but unless they have substantial assets, that probably will not be fruitful, since insurance usually will not apply to intentional acts. A claim against the school district and its employees, which is a governmental entity, is subject to special time limits and rules. You have to serve a Notice of Claim, meeting certain requirements, within 6 months of the incident and a lawsuit must be filed within one year of the incident. You don't mention the ages of the victims, but if they are minors, the time limits for their claims may not begin to run until they turn 18. However a parent's claim may be too late if the six month and one year time limits are not met. An attorney would need to evaluate the time limits that apply to each case. You could look online for an attorney who handles personal injury cases. Most attorneys would speak with you without cost to decide whether it is a case she or he would take or investigate. Attorney fees are usually contingent in negligence cases but you may be asked to pay costs, depending on the attorney's practice. Arizona has certified specialist attorneys in personal injury and wrongful death litigation. Look for a specialist if you can, or someone experienced in claims against school districts.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
You have a valid claim, and you should contact a good personal injury attorney to pursue your case. You are obligated by law to make your children attend school, and the school is obligated to take precautions to minimize known safety risks.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP | Kevin Habberfield
In short, yes. The school is en loco parentis and must provide your children with a safe place to learn. Notice to the school of the issues you describe will be the key to the case. Gather all of the evidence that you can as the electronic stuff may go "missing" and go see a personal injury attorney. Most of all, make sure you children can talk to you or someone else so that none of them hurt themselves or others.
Answer Applies to: New York
Broad Law Firm, LLC | Donald K. Broad
I am assuming that the school district is a "public school" as opposed to a private school. In Indiana, that makes a difference because public schools are "governmental entities" that are not subject to comparative fault. You should locate a personal injury attorney in your area that has experience in litigation against schools and/or governmental entities.
Answer Applies to: Indiana