Is a School Civilly Liable for My Child Being Bullied?
When we send our kids off to school in the morning, we tell them to have a great day. We pack their lunch and make sure they have their homework. Our biggest concern may be whether or not they remembered their gym clothes. We never imagine our child is being bullied at school.
School bullying has become a major problem in this country. Kids are bullied online. They're bullied on the bus. And they’re bullied in the classroom. It seems that no matter where they are, kids are susceptible to being picked on by other kids. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s real.
You should be able to trust that your kid’s teachers and administrators are doing everything they can do to prevent bullying. When we learn that our child has been bullied for weeks or months, the first thing we wonder is how the school let it happen.
If your child is being bullied at school, you may need the services of a Fort Walton Beach, personal injury attorney.
How Common is School Bullying in Florida?
Believe it or not, school bullying is on the decline. The difference is, we’re more aware of it today. Because of all the media surrounding childhood bullying, we are more aware of it than ever before.
Studies have shown that 1 in 3 students in this country have been bullied at some point. Bullying is more common in middle school than at any other level. The most common types of bullying are verbal and social bullying.
Because kids in middle school spend a lot of time on social media, they may experience a combination of in-person bullying and cyberbullying.
Is a School Liable for Student Bullying?
When our child is being bullied, we want to blame someone. There’s not much we can do about what the other kids do. If we call their parents, we fear the bullying will get worse. We don’t want our child to be traumatized even further out of retaliation. So we look to see who else we can hold responsible.
We should be able to expect our children to be safe while they’re at school. And, even we understand the school can’t be held responsible for the behavior of every student, they do have some responsibility to our children.
If a school is aware that your child is being bullied, they do have a responsibility to do everything possible to stop the bullying. If they’re aware of what is going on and which students are responsible, they should take the appropriate measures to correct the behavior.
But, what if the school claims they’re doing everything they can and the bullying doesn’t stop?
You May Have a Civil Claim Against the School
The courts have held that schools are liable for student bullying. Their liability depends on several factors. In order to be civilly liable for your child’s being bullied, your personal injury lawyer must show:
- The bullying is severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive
- At least one person in the school’s administration has knowledge of the bullying
- The school is intentionally indifferent to the bullying
If you have already notified the school administration that your child is being bullied at school, you may have a case against the school. Telling a principal or superintendent or even a guidance counselor qualifies as notifying the administration.
If despite being aware of the problem, the school does nothing to prevent the bullying, they should be held liable for damages. Your personal injury attorney will submit proof that they were aware of the behavior. He will also submit evidence that the school was indifferent to your child’s being bullied.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Fort Walton Beach
If your child is being bullied at school, you may need to contact a personal injury attorney in Fort Walton Beach. Your lawyer can review your case and see if the school should be held civilly liable. Every case is different. Your attorney won’t know if you have a case until he meets with you. Make sure you tell him the full story. If the school has made efforts to stop the bullying, tell your lawyer. Be upfront and honest with him.
Call an attorney and schedule your free initial consultation today. You’ll get a chance to go over your case with the attorney. He can answer any questions you may have. And remember – you pay nothing until you settle your case.