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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Bullies beware: Groundbreaking ruling allows schools to sue students who harass peers

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By Mark Mueller/The Star-Ledger 

In a groundbreaking case that puts school bullies and their parents on notice, a Superior Court judge has ruled that two Hunterdon County school districts may file suit against students who torment their peers.

Attorneys involved in the case say the decision by Judge Yolanda Ciccone — the assignment judge for Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren counties — could spur similar suits across the state.

They say it also delivers a strong message that parents may be held legally liable when their children taunt, tease or physically harass classmates.

Read more here. 

Parents of bullied Gallatin student plan to sue school

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Posted: Feb 08, 2013 10:57 PM ESTUpdated: Feb 9, 2013 11:26 AM CST

GALLATIN, Tenn. –The family of a Sumner County middle school student plans to sue the Board of Education because of ongoing bullying and what the family views as a lack of enforcing a zero tolerance policy against bullying.

Kim Woods said her son Bryson, 13, was first bullied and attacked at Rucker-Stewart Middle School in October.

During the attack Bryson was whipped with a leather belt by a classmate while other kids held him down in a locker room as they changed clothes following P.E.

“He said, ‘I am going to whip me a little kid today’ and apparently that was me,” Bryson said. “He got me by the throat and they pushed me up against the locker.”

He continued, “Then he got me in a choke, they held me down and they whipped me several times.”

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2nd bullying lawsuit filed against Sumner schools

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Nicole Young, Gannett Tennessee;3:45 p.m. CDT May 16, 2014


A local couple has filed suit against the Sumner County Board of Education claiming that school officials failed to protect their daughter from being bullied by teammates on the Hendersonville High School basketball team.

The suit, filed May 8 in Sumner County Circuit Court, seeks $300,000 in damages. The plaintiffs, Arnett and Sherry Hayes, claim their daughter was “the victim of an ongoing pattern of student-on-student racially motivated harassment and bullying,” the suit says.

Sumner County Schools spokesman Jeremy Johnson declined to comment on the lawsuit because it is pending in court.


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Family files lawsuit against school over bullying

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LAWRENCE, Ind. – The parents of a special needs student are suing a local school for not doing enough to stop the bullying of their son.

The family says their son, Hawk, who was 9 years old at the time, was tormented and even received death threats. Hawk, now 12, said it was hard for him to come forward, but he wants to be the voice for others who are bullied.

“What he wants most of all, kids like this want most of all, is to be treated like every other kid as much as possible,” his mother Brenda Trimmer said.

Hawk’s parents said he is a brilliant boy who excels in school work. He is home-schooled because of his physical limitations, but Hawk decided a few years ago that he wanted to try school. His parents enrolled him in Hoosier Academies Learning Center in Lawrence two days a week.

His mom said the bullying began right away and students would chant at him and call him ugly names.

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Why Schools Lose Lawsuits Over Bullying

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MAY 7, 2012 BY 


All Sawyer wanted to do was to protect himself from bullies and the mean kids in middle school. He wrote to his guidance counselor, “I would like to let you know that the bullying has increased. I would like to figure out some coping mechanisms to deal with these situations, and I would just like to put this on file so if something happens again, we can show that there was past bullying situations.”

Three months later, he was punched so hard that he now is a paraplegic.

I’ve seen this so many times in the work I do. Kids are crying out for help: “How can I get the bullies to go away?” A lot of these children end up hiding out and become socially isolated, afraid of being bullied or harassed. Unfortunately for Sawyer, the school didn’t listen to his cry for help — and now the school is paying the price.

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Father of accused bully says boys should have been kept apart

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January 21, 2014|By Stephanie K. Baer, Tribune reporter

The father of a boy accused in a lawsuit of bullying another boy at a St. Charles school said school personnel failed to keep the two first-graders away from each other, as he said had been arranged.

“They said they were going to separate them and they didn’t,” the father told the Tribune after a hearing in Kane County court last week. “I can’t keep an eye on him when he’s at school.”


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Hammond girl’s bullying leads to lawsuit against school

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Suit says Catholic school officials failed to protect teen

 The parents of a 13-year-old Hammond Catholic school student say their daughter was hospitalized because of constant bullying by two classmates and the school not only failed to take proper disciplinary action against the bullies but forced their daughter to leave the school.

William and Jeanine Holmes, the girl’s parents, allege in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in state District Court in Tangipahoa Parish that administrators at Holy Ghost Catholic School on North Oak Street failed to discipline two seventh-grade boys who allegedly “severely and traumatically bullied” the girl for months through verbal threats and taunts on social media.


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Litigating Bullying Cases: Holding School Districts and Officials Accountable

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By Adele Kimmel and Adrian Alvarez∗

I. Introduction

Bullying is devastating our children. It is hurting, traumatizing, and sometimes even killing our kids. The consensus among physicians, social scientists, and educators alike is that bullying can seriously impair the physical and psychological health of victims and their educational achievement. The short- and long-term psychological impact alone can be highly destructive, increasing the risk of suicide. Bullying needs to be treated as the serious problem it is, not as a normal rite of passage to be left alone and endured.


Today we stand at a “tipping point” on bullying. Behaviors we once took for granted are no longer acceptable. This normative shift is being reflected in state anti-bullying laws and courts throughout the country. Forty-nine states now have anti-bullying laws that require schools to take appropriate action to address and prevent bullying.1 Although there is no federal law that specifically applies to bullying, when harassment is based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability or religion, schools are obligated to address it.


Far too often, however, schools are not doing what the law and their own anti-bullying policies require. In fact, half of our country’s school officials and teachers have not received training on how to respond to bullying.2 And eight out of every ten times that a child gets bullied at school, no adult intervenes.3


Public Justice has launched an Anti-Bullying Campaign to change this. Through litigation, we intend to enforce the law, protect our nation’s children, and hold school districts and officials accountable for failing to respond to bullying as they should. Because bullying litigation is an emerging area of law, Public Justice has prepared this primer to help maximize attorneys’ effectiveness when representing bullying victims.4


First, this primer explains what “bullying” is—and what it isn’t. Because there is no definition of bullying under federal law, and because a wave of recent anti-bullying legislation includes at least 10 different definitions under state laws, it is helpful to start with a basic understanding of bullying. This will help attorneys evaluate whether a plaintiff is a victim of bullying—or something else.


Second, this primer provides an overview of federal legal theories available to school bullying victims, which are generally much more developed than state legal theories. In addition to discussing federal legal standards and remedies, this primer will discuss potential obstacles to recovery, including immunity issues.

Click on link to read full document.