SCHOOL YARD BULLYING – WHEN ARE SCHOOLS LIABLE
Children bullying each other at school is not a new issue. There would be very few people who could not recall instances where they were subject to some form of bullying during their school days.
Other people may (reluctantly) come to realise that they themselves were responsible for bullying at school.
There has been greatly increased emphasis on educating children about the issues surrounding bullying.
Children are far more alert and are encouraged to report bullying at the earliest opportunity.
From a legal perspective the question is whether a school could be held liable for a civil claim in damages if a child is injured either physically or psychologically as a result of bullying.
Teachers in schools are not responsible for every bullying incident but are responsible for a reasonable level of supervision and responsibility.
If a school is aware of the behaviour of a particular student but no steps were taken to prevent bullying activity there is the possibility that the school could be held liable.
A more modern phenomenon is cyber bullying where students are subjected to texts, e-mails and social media posts.
The partners of Bradford Legal have children at school and are very sensitive to the issue in this complex area. Potential cases require careful analysis and balance needs to be struck between normal student interaction and crossing the line into bullying behaviour.