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Can I Sue the School for Bullying?

school-bullyIt is natural to want to protect our kids so if they were bullied at school you might be wondering if you can sue the school for bullying. Traditionally it has been very difficult to successfully sue a school or school district as they generally have "sovereign immunity." Sovereign immunity is a legal doctrine that states that the sovereign or state cannot commit a legal wrong and is immune from civil suit or criminal prosecution.

In March 2014, a groundbreaking case may have changed the game on suing for bullying. A Superior Court judge in New Jersey ruled that two Hunterdon County school districts may file suit against students who torment their peers. Some legal precedent has been set that parents may be held legally liable when their children bully, taunt, tease or physically harass their classmates.

What Is Bullying?

Bullying includes many wrongs committed by one or more persons against another person or group. The actual act can take on many forms including sexual harassment, teasing, excluding, name calling, physically pushing, hitting or attacking, threatening, hazing, damaging or stealing belongings, or demanding money.

What to do if Your Child is Bullied at School

If your child is sexually harassed or bullied by another student, you should act right away; waiting for the students to work it out is not advised. Setup a meeting with any teachers or recess attendants who may have witnessed the bullying; ensure the school principal is also present. You will have the most success if you have documented the incidents carefully including times, places, description of the incidents, witnesses, and pictures of any physical bullying. If you are aware that other students are being bullied by the same person, then encourage their parents to speak to school officials as well. School representatives are more likely to respond immediately if they have multiple complaints.

If you don't get a favorable response at your meeting or see any concrete action taken within a couple days afterward, write a letter to the principal and school district superintendent. The letter should outline the facts and demand an immediate response to the problem. In the last decade, many public schools have adopted zero tolerance policies against bullying after nationally-publicized school bullying incidents and subsequent suicides. There is increased awareness and sensitivity to bullying today compared with previous decades.

Notify the Police

If your child was assaulted physically, including being hit, pushed, slapped, or tripped; call the police and file a police report right away. The police can investigate and check to see if the bully has a juvenile record and if not, a record can be started. Additionally, the police can help you file a restraining or anti-harassment order to keep the school bullies a safe distance from your child.

If your child has been physically or sexually assaulted by another student, talk with a local personal injury lawyer right away.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is two to three times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation! You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!

School Liability in Gym Class Accidents

gym-class-accidentsA study by the Journal Pediatrics revealed that gym class accidents and injuries increased by a whopping 150 percent between 1997 and 2007; there are more than 400,000 injuries reported every year. The study was based on the number of emergency room visits by children injured in gym class accidents and showed an increase from 24,000 per year to 60,000. Put another way, in 1997, there were an average 4.39 trips to the emergency room per every 10,000 kids; a decade later, the number had increased to 10.9 visits. Seventy percent of gym-class related injuries were caused by the same six activities: running, basketball, football, volleyball, soccer, and gymnastics. With all the negative press that it has gotten, some people might by surprised that dodgeball doesn't make the list.

With a decrease in school funding, P.E. classes have actually become less available so there are a lot of questions as to why the number of injuries are increasing. Some experts speculate that the increase in childhood obesity and large class sizes may be contributing factors. It is important to note that many schools no longer employ a school nurse so there could be more trips to the emergency department without an actual increase in injuries.

Gym Class Injury Statistics

  • Half of all gym class injuries were among middle school kids
  • The most common gym class related injuries are bruises, sprains, strains, fractures, and cuts
  • Outdoor gym classes have seen heatstroke and dehydration situations
  • Boys account for 54 percent of all gym class injuries
  • Boys are more likely to get hurt playing group sports or by colliding with other kids or their surroundings
  • High school aged boys incur more gym class related injuries than elementary aged boys
  • Girls are more likely to get hurt by twisting an ankle while running, playing tennis or participating in other individual or paired activities

School District Liability for Injuries on School Grounds

School district liability for injured children is an ongoing debate and a controversial topic among parents and schools. From state to state, courts are weighing in on whether a parent has a right to damages after their child is injured in a gym class accident.

Over the years, courts have seen lawsuits against school districts filed for a variety of reasons including school-yard fights, bullying, lax security, and dodgeball injuries. As school districts have endured lawsuits some have decided to stop allowing certain games or activities on school grounds; most famously dodgeball and any other "human target" games.

School liability for injured children will continue to evolve in the legal system as views change on appropriate types and amounts of physical fitness. As schools become more concerned about liability, limiting more physical activities may become a reality.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is two to three times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation! You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!

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