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Category Archives: Bullying Liability

From Education World, Bullying and School Liability: What Administrators Should Know

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Posted by Maria Mangicaro
Bullying Prevention Advocate
mangicaro829@aol.com

Can schools be held legally accountable for student bullying? If so, under what circumstances?

Click here to read full Article by Celine Provini, EducationWorld Editor
Education World®
Copyright © 2013 Education World

These tough questions have emerged alongside increased awareness of the detrimental effects of bullying. While almost all states have passed new, or strengthened existing, anti-bullying laws, many districts, in the face of rising family legal action concerning bullying, remain unclear regarding legally compliant policies and best practices.

EducationWorld offers the following primer for school leaders concerned about civil liability for bullying and harassment. Schools are encouraged to consult their districts’ legal counsel for information and advice regarding applicable state and federal laws.

Bullying vs. harassment

First, it’s important to note the difference between bullying and legally defined harassment. While we can all agree that any form of bullying is undesirable in a school setting, harassment occurs only when students are bullied based on personal characteristics that trigger special federal protection—namely gender, race or disability. Bullying that constitutes harassment is specifically prohibited by federal law.

It is therefore harassment-related student bullying that when left unchecked by school officials, poses the greatest legal risk. In the Leadership Insider article “School Liability for Bullying & Harassment,” article authors Seamus Boyce and Andrew Manna explain that if schools face the following five circumstances, they are legally liable for peer harassment:

  1. The bullied student is a member of a “protected class” defined under federal civil rights laws—these classes include gender, race and disability. (While his/her sexual orientation would not technically place a student in a protected class, note that in some court cases, students who were bullied for “nonconformity to gender stereotypes” have successfully claimed sex-based harassment.)
  2. The peer harassment was based on the students’ membership in a protected class (e.g., a student was repeatedly mocked for having a developmental disability).
  3. The harassment was severe, pervasive and offensive (this standard takes into account both severity and frequency; if severe, even a one-time incident can qualify).
  4. The school (an official with authority to act) had knowledge of the harassment.
  5. The school was deliberately indifferent to the harassment.

 

http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/bullying-school-legal-liability.shtml

 

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Bullying Liability: Pinellas County School Bus Beating

Posted on

Posted by Maria Mangicaro
Bullying Prevention Advocate
mangicaro829@aol.com

Published on Aug 1, 2013

FULL STORY ON:http://badact.com/bad-school-bus-beat…

From WFLA:

Bad School Bus Beating In Florida… Bus Driver May Face Charges

Three students are accused of beating a younger student aboard a Pinellas County school bus.

Officials said the bus driver from Lealman Intermediate School called for help when three students “ganged up” on a 13-year-old student, kicking and punching the victim.

The driver stopped the bus near 20th Avenue South and 51st Street. Police said the suspects used the emergency exit of the bus to escape.

Joshua Reddin, Julian McKnight, and Lloyd Khemradj, all 15 years old, were arrested a short time later.

An investigation revealed one of the suspects had tried to sell drugs to the victim in a school bathroom. The victim notified officials at the school. Later that day, the suspects and victim rode the same school bus home.

Officials said the victim tried to crawl under a seat on the bus as the suspects punched and kicked the victim for roughly a minute, police said.

The victim suffered a fractured arm.  Police say Joshua Reddin also took the victim’s money after the beating.

All three teens are charged with aggravated battery. Reddin is also charged with unarmed robbery.  All three have been released from police custody.