School Bullying - Know Your Legal Rights
Bullying in the school is one of the most harrowing experiences a child ever faces. As parents, we try to protect our children from these obstacles in life. Bullying can present itself in different ways; physical, verbal, and indirect bullying. Approximately 350,000 school children are bullied every week, and between 16 - 20 children take their own lives due to being bullied.
The question is, when should you seek legal advice?
By law, schools are required to have an anti-bully policy written to ensure the safety of all children. If your child has been threatened, then the bully may be facing an offense of "Threatening Behavior". If your child has been sexually assaulted then the bully could be facing an offense of "Indecent Assault". If your child has been physically assaulted then the bully could face "Criminal Offense of Assault" charges.
From the "Protection from Harassment Act", there are two criminal offenses that could be applicable to the act of bullying. This entails both the offense of harassment and the offense of putting people in fear of violent acts. In this circumstance, prosecution cannot proceed unless the harassment has occurred on more then one occasion.
Another legal option if your child has been bullied is 'negligence'. Negligence may occur when the bullying resulted in severe physical and psychological damage supported by medical evidence. Any claim of negligence must be made within one year of occurrence, and any child under the age of ten cannot be prosecuted.
All forms of bullying are unacceptable and can cause unhappiness and long term effects on a child's self-esteem. If your child is showing signs of being bullied at school, they may be afraid of admitting to it for fear of retaliation by the bully, or fear of being teased by other children. Its important to assure your child that it is in his or her best interest to come forward when bullying is occurring. If you continue to suspect bulling may be occurring, but your child is still withholding, consider speaking with a school counselor or principle.
If your child has suffered an injury or mental anguish as a result of a bully at school, it is occasionally necessary to consult a lawyer to assure your child's well-being. Most lawyers will offer a free consultation and may even be able to tell you if you have legal recourse for dealing with a school bully.
AUTHOR: Lauren Nikulicz
Copyright Law Office of Sara Powell
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.