Q: After my last class, in the hallway, I was punched in the eye by a fellow student. There were no teachers or security monitors. About a month before the attack, I had complained to my teacher about the student’s bullying behavior, and so had my mother to the principal. At that time, the bully had just returned from a suspension for a similar episode, in the same hallway, against another student.
A: A school is under a duty to adequately supervise the students in its charge. The school will be held liable for foreseeable injuries proximately related to the absence of adequate supervision. In determining whether the duty to provide adequate supervision has been breached, it must be established that school authorities had sufficiently specific knowledge or notice of the dangerous conduct which caused the injury – that is, that the bully’s acts could reasonably have been anticipated.
Courts have consistently recognized that dismissal is a time when supervision is necessary, due to congregation of large numbers of students and the increased likelihood of fights. Surely, the hallway should have been monitored by a member of the school staff or a police officer.
Clearly, the School District had knowledge of the bully’s dangerous propensities as a result of her involvement in similar altercations with classmates in the recent past, and prior complaints by you and your mother about the bully’s behavior. It seems impossible for the School District to establish that it lacked sufficiently specific knowledge or notice.
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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