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Ely, Attorney
Category: Education Law
Satisfied Customers: 102601
Experience:  Attorney in general practice,
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I am writing to see if I can get information regarding my

Customer Question

Hello, I am writing to see if I can get information regarding my niece who is a high school sophomore. She has been diagnosed with high functioning autism. She has endured bullying for several years within the school system. It has been by the same girl (and her friends) throughout. The school has addressed this by threatening suspension to this student and other "steps" that have had little to curb her bullying behavior. My niece has done whatever possible to avoid hostility even as far as to eat her lunch in the bathroom for several months until her art teacher gave her permission to eat in the art room. This school year the bullying has escalated. Last week my niece was walking down an empty school hallway when she found she was being followed. She was corned by eight girls (with the one girl mentioned before being the leader) They threatened her verbally and threatened her with physical violence. All girls participated in screaming F------ C--T at her( so many times my niece said she actually starting counting.) More students joined the crowd maybe not so much to participate but to stand & watch idly. One raised her arm to strike physically when a teacher intervened. I am extremely uncomfortable with this situation as I see it now as particularly dangerous. There is enough video evidence of a mob of youths literally stomping on one who is alone and defenseless. It takes just one kick to the head to put someone in a coma or worse. There has been a "no contact" order since issued to the one girl. However her group of cronies continue to verbally harass in the halls. A student should feel safe when attending school and although the school has their policy of steps to be taken they have been of little effect. I know the ADA act has some legal recourse regarding this but I don't know if my niece has the IEP or 504 plan and if that would have any bearing. I am trying to give my sisters family some options to resolve this safely and without things getting worse. I am wondering if there are any laws regarding a situation like this that would have the parents of these bullies sit up and finally take notice if they are confronted with legal action if their children continue with their harassment. If there aren't any laws there should be - for any student that has to endure this environment at school. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you - Denise
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Education Law
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry to hear about this situation. IDEA and 504 plans are to help students with special needs succeed at a public school. It deals with things like grading, special accommodations, and such related issues. What IDEA or 504 Plans do not do is provide "extra security" to the student under such a plan against bullying. So if she is being bullied, then she would have the same recourse that any other student would.

Schools can only do so much to stop the students from being bullied. While schools can technically be sued if they have knowledge of danger and fail to take reasonable steps to prevent it and the child gets hurt, it does not sound like the matter is to that point yet.

The most practical thing that she can do is have her guardian/parent file a restraining order on her behalf against the bullies. See HERE. This can be done regardless of them being students in a public school. Then if the bullies breach the restraining order, they may be actually fined, or held in contempt, or even arrested.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith by rating me positively.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am wondering if the ADA act has within it any legal recourse re: harassment of one with a disability?
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.

No. ADA does not provide any additional causes of action or recourse for bullying/harassment of an individual who falls under the ADA, I am afraid.

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Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.

Hello again. This is a courtesy check in to see if you needed anything else in regards ***** ***** question. I am simply touching base. Let me know. Thanks!