Bullying is a nationally recognized problem facing elementary, middle and secondary schools. It is recognized that bullying can cause profound consequences and injuries for its victims.
The Pennsylvania Legislature has enacted a law requiring public schools to develop and maintain policies prohibiting bullying. The Act states that the bullying policy “shall delineate disciplinary consequences for bullying and may provide for prevention, intervention and education programs” and “identify the appropriate school staff person to receive reports of incidents of alleged bullying.” 24 P.S. § 13-1303.1-A (a).
While the state anti-bullying policy only applies to public school, private schools also owe a duty of care to their students, and therefore have an independent obligation to develop policies and procedures to maintain student safety. An effective anti-bullying policy should define bullying, provide a mechanism for reporting bullying behaviors and discuss how the school will respond to reports of bullying. The school’s response should include a timely unbiased investigation, as well as guidance on possible outcomes and disciplinary measures. A private school that fails to address a bullying situation can be found to be negligent and therefore responsible for any injuries caused by bullying.
If your child’s school does not have an anti-bullying policy and/or has failed to take adequate measures to prevent or stop bullying, call us today so we can help you identify, understand and enforce your child’s rights.