Social Networking : Harassment

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Q: At junior high school, the other students were calling me a not-nice word.  I complained, and the principal just said, “Well, are you?”

Soon, some students had formed a group called “Everyone Hates You” on the website Facebook.  In its Group Info, the group called me a not-nice word and said that no one likes me.  Group members made comments that were threatening and directed against people like me.  My mother reported the group to the principal, and he just said, “Well, is he?”

After that, another student went to the Facebook group called “I Love Watching Fights at School.”  He posted that he was going to have someone beat me up.  The next morning, my mother reported the posting to the principal.  That afternoon, a student punched me in the face.  The principal refused to report the incident and failed to punish these students.

After that, some students discussed the situation with the principal, a teacher and the school district’s public-relations department.  These students started a Facebook group called “The Whole Story”.  Within weeks, Facebook had shut down the group, because the posts were so harassing and threatening.

A: In order to trigger liability for discrimination on the part of the school district, it is best if you can prove knowledge on the part of the board of trustees itself, relating to either the harassment of you or the various responses of the principal.  Given that he was involved in the “The Whole Story” – you will be alleging not just inaction, but also affirmative acts on his part, for which the district is vicariously liable.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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