Karen McCowan‘s recent article (excerpt below) points to the existence of a growing trend in lawsuits connected with bullying incidents. The 2011-2012 school year saw the beginning of what will become a growing trend in bullying lawsuits and investigations. Anoka-Hennepin School District and Tehachapi School District found themselves immersed in investigations by the Department of Justice. The net result in both cases: federal mandates calling for increased bullying prevention education and bully reporting systems. Seth’s law reached the Governor’s office in California, officially becoming a law on October 11, 2011, thirteen months after 13-yea-old Seth Walsh died from an attempted suicide attempt.
Over the past two years the impact of bullying incidents gained the media’s spotlight, raising awareness among parents, students and schools. With the precedent now set from a series of successful lawsuits and investigations, the coming 2012 – 2013 school year should expect to see an increase in parent instigated lawsuits, resulting from bullying incidents.
School districts with an effective mechanism for reporting and tracking bullying incidents can demonstrate an increased level of accountability, thereby limiting the personal liability of school administrators.
School districts across the country have faced lawsuits in recent years for failing to do more to prevent student-on-student bullying and harassment.
In the most recent local example, arguments are scheduled in federal court this month on such a suit filed against the Harrisburg School District by parents of a middle school student who was allegedly bullied.
Meanwhile, in the Eugene School District, parents of a Monroe Middle School seventh-grader have filed a lawsuit accusing the district of defaming their son and violating his rights by suspending him for alleged off-campus harassment of two younger, disabled students.