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SmithLegal
SmithLegal, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Attorney At Law Over Nine Yrs. Courtroom Experience
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SITUATION: My 9-year old daughter missed the bus the other

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SITUATION: My 9-year old daughter missed the bus the other day. She went to the after school area where all the children area generally picked up, the cafeteria. After informing a volunteer that she had missed the bus, she was instructed to sit down and wait. The volunteer was handing out cookie orders (for their fundraising project), and after a few moments my daughter got up and began talking with one of her friends. According to my daughter, she was worried about getting home, and her friend had offered to take her home. Generally, all children that are picked up after school are supposed to be "signed out" of the cafeteria area (I'm assuming, as I've never used this service before) as a safety precaution to keep children from being kidnapped or going home with the wrong families, etc. Well, my daughter was able to leave with her friend and her friend's parents from the school without any problems. My mother, who was waiting at the bus stop for my daughter to arrive went to the school immediately after my daughter did not get off the bus. When she arrived, she went to the office to alert them that my daughter had not gotten on the bus, we had not received a call, and did not know where she was - did they know where she was? Had she come to the office? The office staff paged over the intercom for her and called to her teacher's classroom (no one answered). My mother went to check the cafeteria for her to see if she was in there, and came across the volunteer who said she had told my daughter to sit down and that had been the last anyone had seen her. The volunteer had helped my mother to look around for my daughter, but did not find her. Upon returning to the office, my mother found it locked and the office staff was gone. Generally, you would think that upon hearing that there is a student missing, someone would do something more, like alert the principle or assistant principle that a child was missing (which I found out the next day, they did not). At this point, my mother called me, and we began the search for my daughter. Luckily, she is safe and after finding no one home, went to a friend's house to wait for us, but she was not really located until 445/5pm. Upon speaking with the principle the following day (yesterday), I was informed that no one had alerted him that a child went missing at all. He had let me know that the staff should not have left until they were certain that she had been found, he or the assistant principle should have been called, and that none of the standard protocol had been followed. I was told that the office staff had stayed around until 430pm, waiting to see if anything had happened... The phone call from my mother, which happened after she found the office locked, occurred at 4pm. So, his office staff, other than not caring enough to call, is lying on that aspect. Other than his apology, that was all I received from them. When I got home from work yesterday, my daughter informed me that the same office staff who just didn't care enough about my child to stay or inform the principle, cared enough to go up to her yesterday and grill her asking her about why she had left the school.
QUESTION: I currently live in Las Vegas, NV. I do not know if I have legal grounds for... anything? I am certainly livid with this particular office staff for leaving while my child is missing, lying to cover her ass, but I am now really livid that she approached my child and began to grill her after the fact. I almost want to ask for her dismissal, but don't know if I can. I don't know what legal options I have for the school to let my daughter leave with a complete stranger (I do not know the parents that took her home). I am not stating that my child is without any fault in any of this, but 100% of the entire situation could have been stopped if school protocol had been followed and she had not been allowed to leave with complete strangers. Legally, can I do anything?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  SmithLegal replied 1 year ago.

SmithLegal : Hi I'm a licensed attorney and would like to investigate and aid you with the troubling situation. It will involve some research on my part so I may change our communication format so we can talk back and forth through messages but for now I'm introducing myself.
SmithLegal : I'm switching the format due to the chat feature being unreliable. Ask me questions and communicate with me there. Do not rate me until you are fully satisfied. We will communicate like this from now on
Expert:  SmithLegal replied 1 year ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

What happens now?

If you haven’t already done so, please rate your answer above. Or, you can reply to me using the box below. Question: does your daughter attend a public school in Las Vegas? I need to know to see what are the ramifications for a situation like this, as private schools may have different protocols.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Ok. Do you need any other information from me at this point? I am torn on whether or not to even send her to school today, but even as crappy as the NV public school system is, I do not want to pull her today unless I honestly have a justifiable reason (other than being livid).

Expert:  SmithLegal replied 1 year ago.
Right now, if you are telling me she attends public school that is all I need right now. Please give me a short time to conduct some research, if that is ok with you fr instance, the possible law suits involved here are as follows:What Are A School’s Legal Obligations?In general, a school is required to protect the safety and well-being of its students. The types of civil lawsuits that can be brought against a school and its employees differ depending on a number of factors, including: 1) whether a school is a public school or an independent school; 2) the laws of the state and locality; 3) the school’s rules and regulations; 4) the facts of the case, such as whether or not the abducted child is later found, and, if so, whether he or she is injured; and 5) the actions and duties of the school administrators and employees. Causes of action can include negligence, premises liability, infliction of emotional distress, violation of state and local laws requiring safe schools, and certain safety procedures. Public schools and their employees, where not pre-empted for official immunity reasons, can also face allegations they violated U.S. Constitutional rights.
Expert:  SmithLegal replied 1 year ago.
What Are A School’s Legal Obligations?

In general, a school is required to protect the safety and well-being of its students. The types of civil lawsuits that can be brought against a school and its employees differ depending on a number of factors, including: 1) whether a school is a public school or an independent school; 2) the laws of the state and locality; 3) the school’s rules and regulations; 4) the facts of the case, such as whether or not the abducted child is later found, and, if so, whether he or she is injured; and 5) the actions and duties of the school administrators and employees.

Causes of action can include negligence, premises liability, infliction of emotional distress, violation of state and local laws requiring safe schools, and certain safety procedures. Public schools and their employees, where not pre-empted for official immunity reasons, can also face allegations they violated U.S. Constitutional rights.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

From my understanding the Clark county public school district's policy is that only people that are authorized by the parent(s) are allowed to pick up a child from the school. The only people I have ever allowed to pick up my daughter were my mother, father, and myself. Part of the annual paperwork that is filled out annually includes the authorizations on who can pick up. Seeing how my daughter left with complete strangers, but she was found, unharmed, does that diminish the negligence on their behalf? Also, I am concerned because I have this office clerk/receptionist harassing my daughter because she failed to do her job? When I spoke with the principle yesterday, he had already stated that protocol was not followed by the office staff or the staff in the cafeteria.

Expert:  SmithLegal replied 1 year ago.
The obligations, it seems, are the ones listed above. Importantly, I listed the different type of causes of action that arise when they fail to meet their obligation. (Negligence, etc). Sine your daughter wasn't harmed, your best bet lies in alleging, rightfully, that they violated city or state laws. If you could find a lawyer there to do it, it would serve more as a policy overview with minimal sanctions. But, it would alert the higher ups what kind or risks your school is taking. The fact that she was unharmed is a blessing. Not many are so fortunate, and bringing some kind of suit or raising this issue in a public forum could have positive implications. It is in their best interest that this is brought to light before something horrible happens. That being said, I'm just opining and I cannot give advice per the terms of this site.
SmithLegal, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience: Attorney At Law Over Nine Yrs. Courtroom Experience
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