Bullying has been on a lot of people’s minds since the the publicity surrounding cases like California teen Audrie Potts, who killed herself after a series of bullying incidents.
But can a school be held responsible for bullying incidents?
It depends on the circumstances.
A school may be held responsible when a student is injured by a bully because the school failed to adequately supervise the students. In one case involving a fourth grader whose leg was broken in a fight, the court said that, “California law has long imposed on school authorities a duty to supervise at all times the conduct of the children on the school grounds and to enforce those rules and regulations necessary to their protection.”
Students are less likely to bully each other when there is adequate supervision, so when students are left to their own devices and a student is injured in a bullying incident, a school could be held responsible for its negligent supervision of the students.
Schools have a responsibility to supervise students during the school day, they must institute policies and procedures to keep students safe, and the school must also ensure that those policies and procedures are followed by staff members. If your child has been injured in a bullying incident on school property you should seek the counsel of an experienced California personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the incident. Your rights may be time-limited, and evidence may be lost forever if you hesitate for too long before taking action.