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Holding schools accountable for harassment

When parents bring their kids to school, they expect that their children will be able to learn in a safe environment. As more and more cases of cyber bullying and harassment are mentioned in the news, however, it's possible that parents shouldn't assume that their children will be secure within academic confines. If you have visited the practice area page of our website, you know that the Texas legislature has passed bills designed to protect students and hold responsible parties liable for this type of intimidation.

Most parents whose children are being targeted by other students will feel it necessary to keep school officials accountable for their indifference to an established pattern of harassment. When repeated contact with administrators provides no satisfactory resolution, parents may feel that their only course of action is to file suit against schools. Before taking this step, however, parents will need to consider the obstacles that may prevent them from winning in court.

School immunity may prevent parents from receiving satisfaction in a case's resolution. Some schools are protected from lawsuits by the town or city in which the school is located. If school officials acted according to the school's best practices, they may be shielded from a lawsuit.

This isn't to say that any attempt to right a wrong at school will be defeated in court. In order to establish the best case possible, parents should follow these steps:

1. Document every incident with specific details, such as the time, date and location of the offense.

2. Record interaction with school staff including teachers, social workers and administrators.

3. Contact parents of classmates. It may be possible that other children are being targeted as well.

Documentation helps parents and their attorneys lay the groundwork for a successful claim if repeated instances of indifference are revealed. Maintaining a record of incidents may not stop the aggressive actions immediately; however, accounting for every incident enhances the quality of the claim.

Parents who are concerned about their child's safety are advised to seek the counsel of a knowledgeable attorney to discuss the best course of action to take.

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