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Discover How Bullying Impacts Lives Long After School

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By Jenny Holt

It is an unfortunate fact of the world that bullying is on the rise, and not just at school. BullyinBully Free Zone.jpgg happens at the workplace, too. The victims of bullying suffer every day, and often struggle to even get out of bed, let alone manage to enjoy a new day.

Nobody should feel this way, and the sad thing is that these victims don’t just suffer mentally, as if that wasn’t enough. Bullying can lead to physical pain, too, with those bullied at work suffering an increased risk of heart disease as well as other chronic diseases. The amount of people with anxiety and depression is on the rise, the risk of a suicide attempt is increased, and mental health as an adult is affected.

Take a look at this guide to discover the true extent of the mental and physical impact of bullying, and learn how to help put an end to it.


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.”

Read more here. 

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.


Click here to read more.

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.

Click here to learn more.

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.

Click here to read more.

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.


Click  here to read more.

Failure To Prevent Bullying Can Prove Costly To School Districts

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Failure To Prevent Bullying Can Prove Costly To School Districts


As awareness of school bullying increases, so do parents’ expectations of school districts. With supervisory power over children all day, school districts obviously have a special responsibility to keep children safe from injuries, including harm that can come from other children. School districts are seeing a rise in lawsuits stemming from such injuries.

Recently, a Duval County, Fla., jury returned a $100,000 verdict for a minor who was violently attacked by a known school bully in S.B., by and through her Natural Parent and Guardian, Beverly Cox, v. Duval County School Board. 2013 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 3408.
The offender, a 12-year-old female, was known for her violent tendencies. S.B. sustained a left tibial tubercle avulsion fracture requiring three surgeries on her left knee. The jury awarded her $50,000 for her past pain and suffering and $50,000 for her future pain and suffering.

In New Jersey, a student who was paralyzed as a result of an in-school fight obtained a $16,344,327.15 award against the Irvington Board of Education, in A.P., an Infant by his G/A/L Pamela Patterson v. Irvington Board of Education, 2012 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 14933. The attacker had been involved in fights previously and been expelled. Plaintiff claimed that the school negligently failed to protect A.P. from harm and provide safe supervision and care. Plaintiff also asserted that Irvington had a zero tolerance policy for violence, and the school should have ensured the offender was not allowed back into the building. Irvington was found 80% at fault, while the offender was found 20% at fault.

Likewise, a school district was found liable for harm that came to a student who was attacked on the playground, sustaining an arm fracture with nerve damage in Heidenberg v. Hillel School. 1 Exp. Wit. 230988. A $4,000,000 verdict was awarded by a Florida jury. An Indiana federal judge dismissed a school bullying action following a settlement agreement in M.S. v. Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation, D.H., Brett Herrick, and Colleen K. Herrick, 2011 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 201562. In that case, the parents of the offender were sued as well, and the harm was in the form of mental abuse and intimidation as opposed to physical assault.

A jury can find a school’s negligent supervision and failure to protect particularly egregious in cases involving sexual assaults and/or particularly vulnerable children. A five-year-old girl who was forced to inappropriately touch two classmates and was later expelled obtained a $160,000 settlement with the school district in a Washington Federal Court in A.K., a Minor; and S.K., A.K.’s Mother and Guardian v. Shoreline School District #412, Susanne M. Walker, and Jonathan Nessan, 2012 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 20387. A Florida jury awarded the parents of a special needs child who was sexually assaulted on a school bus $1.7 Million against the Palm Beach County School Board in T.B. and S.W., as Parents and Natural Guardians of Q.B., a Minor, v. The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, 2013 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 1270. In a Hawaii Federal Court, a class action was brought by students at a school for the deaf and blind who were sexually assaulted by the “Ringleaders,” a group of students who bullied, terrorized, assaulted, robbed, sodomized, raped, anally raped, gang raped, and sexually attacked other students in Jane Doe, Individually and as Next Friend of John Doe, a minor, and on behalf of a class of persons similarly situated, et al., v. State of Hawaii et al., 2013 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 1466.  The case settled for $5,750,000.

However, school districts cannot prevent every incident of injury in every situation. The school district was found not liable in Shirley Holman, as Parent and Natural Guardian of J.H., and Shirley Holman, Individually, v. The School District of Palm Beach County, Florida, 2012 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 18954. In that case, the student and his mother had complained about his being bullied by a group of students on several prior occasions. On the day of the assault, the student had allegedly warned a teacher that he was going to be attacked after class. The attack resulted in multiple fractures requiring surgery. Nonetheless, the jury found that the school district was not negligent.

These cases and many others reflect the rise in litigation against schools ostensibly due to higher expectations from parents who expect their children to be protected from other students. Findings of negligence and higher awards by juries reflect that society has the same expectation.


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The Florida Senate
(This document is based on the provisions contained in the legislation as of the latest date listed below.)
Prepared By: The Professional Staff of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice

INTRODUCER: Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice; Criminal Justice
Committee; and Senator Simmons
SUBJECT: Bullying
DATE: March 6, 2014

1. Dugger Cannon CJ Fav/CS
2. Clodfelter Sadberry ACJ Fav/CS
3. AP

Please see Section IX. for Additional Information:

I. Summary:
CS/CS/SB 548 creates a criminal statute penalizing bullying and aggravated bullying. The newly
created statute provides a second degree misdemeanor penalty1
for bullying and a first degree
misdemeanor penalty2
for aggravated bullying. Cyberbullying is included in each new crime.
The elements of these two new offenses and the definitions provided in the bill are the same as
the elements and definitions in the stalking statute (found to be constitutional by the Florida
Supreme Court in 1995).

The Criminal Justice Impact Conference has determined that the bill will have an insignificant
impact on the need for prison beds.
II. Present Situation:
Bullying Statute
Florida law requires each district school board to adopt a policy prohibiting bullying and
harassment in district schools.3
Violation of these policies can result in school disciplinary

Punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a potential fine up to $500. Sections 75.082 and 775.083, F.S.
Punishable by up to one year in jail and a potential fine up to $1,000.Sections 775.082 and 775.083, F.S.
Section 1006.147, F.S.

BILL: CS/CS/SB 548 Page 2

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