Hello again from your school and education law Guru. Bullying or the accusation of bullying is a serious offense. The number of suicide victims due to bullying has increased dramatically in the United States. While both boys and girls have committed suicide due to bullying situations, statistically more girls than boys have done so in recent years. School districts and state legislatures have enacted anti-bullying laws and regulations; however, more often than not these have more bark than bite.
A common situation that victims of bullying face are that they’re too embarrassed or don’t want to report bullying because of the fear of retaliation or retribution. This is when the victim of a bullying case ends up being injured or engages the bully in a fight. One of the first things a parent or the student will say is that the other student has been bullying them for some time. The problem is that unless this has been documented with the school, many schools will say that you’re only saying that now because you got in trouble. With that said, it is very important that if you are a victim of bullying or have a child that is a victim of bullying that this is documented in writing with the school and not just simply done as a phone call with no actual record.
There have been occasions where students who have been repeatedly bullied, find themselves fighting the aggressor and being faced with expulsion along with the aggressor. This is seen because both, the victim and the aggressor were involved in a school fight. Even if there were incidents of bullying prior to the situation, if there’s no proof of this, whether in the form of a video, by the bully admitting to it, or emails documenting it, the victim and bully will be equally guilty in the situation. Often times this argument will be handled by the school district or school administrator. The most important thing that I would advise you to do is that if you’re the victim of bullying document this with the school in writing so that the school is put on notice of what is taking place. Similarly, if you have been accused of bullying and the accusation is false, you must indicate that the other student never made a complaint about bullying prior to the situation, and it was never documented.
The above is a very general overview. There are other factors that can interplay with this. You should seek out an education attorney that has education law experience dealing with this type of matter. This article is not meant to be relied upon as legal advice. Laws and policies can change. Seek an experienced attorney for the most current and up to date information to assist you in this or any legal matter. Call us for a FREE CONSULTATION.