Parents want their children to go to school to learn in a positive and safe environment. Unfortunately, many school-age children are exposed to bullying in some form. This aggression is stressful and distracts from learning.
New Bullying Protections Under New Hampshire Law
On August 3, 2021, Governor Sununu signed into law a bill allowing parents to obtain compensation from public and charter schools, if the schools are indifferent to bullying occurring on their watch and children are physically or emotionally harmed because of it. For many years, state law, RSA 193-F – The Pupil Safety and Violence Prevention Act, mandated that schools monitor for bullying, investigate reported bullying, and take appropriate disciplinary and remedial action to stop children from being abused in school buildings and on school busses.
Bullying Law Allows for Court Action
But this same law also included a provision which forbade parents from seeking any sort of relief in court when schools flatly refused to follow the law and children were hurt because of it. That has finally changed. Now, if a child has suffered repeated abuses at school at the hands of other children and these abuses have been reported to the school but the school nevertheless fails to take action, parents can seek a remedy in court including compensation for medical bills, therapy bills, remedial education costs, and the child’s pain and suffering. The new law stops short of holding schools accountable for mere negligence, or carelessness, in protecting children from bullying harm, but it does open the door to parents holding schools accountable for willfully allowing the abuse of children or “clear unreasonableness” in the failure to respond to known harmful bullying circumstances for the child.
If you have a question regarding bullying by peers of your child in a public school, contact our office for a free consultation at (603) 288-1403 or fill out our online contact form.