May 31, 2018
A child being bullied is a personal injury case. If your child is being bullied to the extent that you need to take legal action, it’s vital that you look for a family-oriented law firm to help you. At Stewart and Stewart, we all have children in our local schools, on our little league teams and are a part of a community we hope to be safe and bully-free. We’re very involved in the community and we keep tuned into what’s going on with our schools and what’s going on with our children in our schools. Unfortunately, school bullying has become more of a problem and it’s more pervasive today than it’s ever been, graduating beyond the school grounds and into social media and online outlets where some bullies feel that they’re protected and can bully emotionally through words.
The outlet for school bullying has grown and that explains why it’s more pervasive today than it’s ever been. The arena has grown and the ability for one child to bully another one has become greater. But, regardless of the format of the bullying, whether it’s at the lunch table or on a laptop, it affects our kids’ wellbeing, their grades and sadly, their own self-worth.
At Stewart and Stewart, two of our last four jury trials were cases involving school bullying scenarios. Our message to the jury in these cases is always the same and it’s not a difficult message or a complex legal argument. Instead, it’s a common-sense rule that when we put our kids in school and they walk in that front door, we as parents or guardians should be able to trust that the school will keep them safe. If school bullying finds its way into the lives of our children, we should also be able to trust that the school is going to handle that situation quickly and appropriately.
Even if the incident doesn’t occur on school grounds, if it’s involving two students from the same school, it’s going to find its way back into the school. The question becomes how is the school handling this? Did they handle it appropriately? Did they have measures in place to prevent the bullying from happening in the first place? If they did, what did they do to remedy it? What did they do to help the situation? Even if they did do all that they could do, even if they did have all the rules in place and the measures in place to protect students from bullying, did they find out about bullying and not do anything about it? Did they ignore it? Did they not tell the parents?
At Stewart and Stewart, we have had several cases where the school has tried to deal with the bullying on their own internally but not consult the authorities or even tell the parents. Children are not as forthright about being bullied as they are about other, more positive things. It is not natural for a child to feel intimidated, so school bullying can affect them in ways they don’t quite understand. Oftentimes, many of these children think there’s something wrong with them and avoid telling their parents the extent of the situation.
If the school ignores those concerns and fails to keep our kids safe, they become liable for the parable effects the school bully has on our students. School bullying is the cornerstone of a whole host of problems students can face, from suicidal thoughts, low self-worth, grades plummeting, and other aspects that affect a child’s life.
Your attorney should deal with school bullying just like any other personal injury case. Whether the bullying caused physical or emotional distress, there is an injury occurring. In all of these cases, schools, just like drivers, doctors and dog owners, have rules to follow. Schools aren’t any different, they’re not exempt from lawsuits, so we look at that school bullying case the way we look at all other cases that cross our desks.
If your child has been the victim of bullying, know that you have the right to contact an attorney to fight for your child’s rights. Our team at Stewart and Stewart has handled many of these cases and we are passionate about helping the children of our community lead safe and bully-free lives. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.