Around the country, including New Hampshire, more and more lawsuits are being filed by parents against school districts that allow students to be bullied by other students. Awareness of bullying as a serious child safety issue is at an all-time high, as is parental awareness of legal options to deal with serious bullying cases.
A suit was filed in January of this year by a mother in New York, alleging that her son’s school district failed to protect him from bullying that took place on his school bus. A suit claiming $10 million in damages was filed in Virginia by the mother of a student who committed suicide after being repeatedly hazed by another student. The mother alleged that the school was aware of the bullying and did nothing to stop it. Another $10 million suits was filed in Maryland in April by a grandmother who claims that bullying drove her grandson to hang himself after school officials ignored his repeated complaints about the treatment he was receiving from other students. Another attempted suicide case in Wisconsin led to a lawsuit by the mother of a quadriplegic child who was aggressively taunted by classmates.
These are difficult cases to bring and a variety of legal theories are being used in this new wave of bullying cases with mixed results. Some of them rely on anti-bullying laws, like the ones New Hampshire recently updated in the wake of the Phoebe Prince case in Massachusetts. Others rely on Title VII or Title IX of the Civil Rights Act and are based on unlawful sexual harassment and discrimination. Many rely on simple common law theories like negligence and negligent supervision.
If your child has been the victim of bullying, and your school system refuses to take the necessary steps to put a stop to it, you need to contact a law firm with trial experience.