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When can you take legal action over bullying of your child?

No parent wants to learn that their child is being bullied in school, especially if they were bullied when they were young. While there’s more attention to the short- and long-term damage that bullying can do now than there was decades ago, it still occurs every day in school hallways and on playgrounds. Parents should always talk to school administrators, coaches, teachers or other adults who have the authority and ability to prevent it when they learn their child is being bullied.

If school officials are made aware of the situation, whether by parents and/or others (or witness it themselves) and do nothing to stop it, they’re neglecting their duty to provide a safe environment for your child and others. You may be able to hold them liable – particularly if a child is injured as a result of the bullying.

One mother is taking legal action against a Los Angeles public charter school district over what happened to her son at a middle school in Los Angeles last year. Surveillance video reportedly shows the then-12-year-old boy being punched and choked by a 14-year-old as other kids watched. A staff member is seen walking past the group of students gathered around the incident, but not stopping.

The lawsuit says that paramedics weren’t called until after the boy’s mother arrived at the school -- at least 30 minutes after the attack -- even though he’d been suffering seizures. According to the boy’s mother, he suffered permanent spinal cord and brain injuries as a result of the strangulation. The 14-year-old had a history of violent behavior.

Unfortunately, sometimes the bully is an adult whose job it is to protect the child. It could be a teacher, coach or any adult at the school or in an organization, like a soccer league.

If a school or other organization did not take the necessary steps to protect your child, despite knowing of the physical, verbal and/or emotional bullying they were experiencing and your child suffered harm, it’s wise to seek the guidance of an attorney. They can determine whether you have a case and, if so, against whom. By holding the appropriate individuals and entities legally responsible, you can seek justice for your child and help prevent other children from suffering harm.

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