My child was bullied at school. Does he have any legal rights?

LBK

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The answer depends on the state in which the acts occurred and the type of school involved. What many parents do not know is that a bullying victim can file a civil case against the bully and any other person or party which encouraged the acts or otherwise failed to respond when it had a duty to do so. Schools, school officials, etc., may all be held liable in a civil court of law for acts of bullying.

Unfortunately, it is often necessary for a bullying victim to take such action. Despite the fact that many states have passed laws which set standards for how schools are to handle the problem of bullying, school officials often fail to respond appropriately, if at all. In addition, parents may be frustrated by the lack of sympathy from law enforcement. Therefore, a civil bullying lawsuit may be necessary to enforce the child’s rights.

Suing a School in a Bullying Case

While of course, the bully may be held liable, the school may also be held liable. However, whether the school can be named as a defendant in a civil bullying case depends on many factors. The most important factor is whether the school is a private or public school.

Generally speaking, the law treats public schools differently than private ones. Public schools are often protected from liability in state tort/negligence claims except in limited situations. This is the principle of sovereign or governmental immunity. For instance, in Pennsylvania, public schools are generally immune from liability under state claims for negligence, etc. There are statutory exceptions, such as vehicle liability, real property liability, etc. Private schools on the other hand operate much like companies, and therefore are not protected under governmental immunity laws.

Related Bullying Legal Articles:

Pennsylvania & New Jersey Bullying Lawyers

If your child was the victim of bullying or cyberbullying and you would like to discuss a potential civil case, please call 800-220-7600 and ask to speak to Guy D’Andrea.  He is a former prosecutor who now brings civil claims on behalf of victims of crime, including victims of bullying.

**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.