As August wears on into September, children and parents are gearing up for the new school year. Many websites offer safety tips for kids headed back to school, such as bus and street safety, pairing kids up in the buddy system for protection, and to beware of strangers. But there is one problem with no easy list of safety tips: how to combat school bullying.
One website suggests that parents talk to school officials first. Legally, the school is responsible for your child’s safety while your child is on the grounds, and school districts must discipline bullies and ensure the bullied child’s safety. It is their responsibility to stop bullying when teachers or school officials notice it happening. Additionally, states have laws in place ensuring schools must deal with bullies or face legal consequences.
However, not all school officials respond to reports of bullying, or handle the situation in a timely manner. One report of a middle school student in the Fairport Central School District showed that the student was bullied repeatedly over 2 years, at two separate schools in the district, and officials did almost nothing to support the child. The district and superintendant Jon Hunter deny that the school ignored the parents’ complaints.
“This is a student we are very concerned about,” said Hunter. “We have worked very hard with the student and his parents to meet his needs…We are still going to work very hard to serve this young man.”
The family has filed a lawsuit because of their son’s distress.
Another lawsuit filed with multiple families in Louisville alleges that Jefferson County Public Schools ignored several instances of bullying, including an instance of sexual assault.
Crystal Bennett, the mother of a girl who was sexually assaulted on her 20 minute bus ride home, said, “I send my child to school and anybody behind me sends their kids to school for safety and to get a good education. Not to be touched on, not to be bullied, I mean it’s just getting outrageous.”
Another student in the JCPS, referred to simply as BB, was harassed several times because he was perceived as gay, and was the only male cheerleader on the team. BB said, “Since I like, first started school, I have been bullied and harassed for a long time, and then when I tried for the cheerleading team it’s like it got worse and I’m going through a lot.”
In a lawsuit filed against the Dickson County School Board, a family claims their son, who was a special needs student, was repeatedly bullied and sexually assaulted by the football and wrestling teams in the locker room. Two coaches from Dickson Middle School insist that the student was not being bullied, but was a willing participant.
Lawsuits against bullying are increasing in the United States. Parents are doing their best to hold schools accountable for their children’s safety. It is important to take steps to resolve the issue to the best of your ability, but if your child has been bullied and you think school officials are not listening to your or taking your claims seriously, you may need to consider alternative action. Please contact the experienced lawyers at Strom Law, LLC, today. We offer free consultations to discuss the details of your case. 803.252.4800.