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Ask Legalease Your Own Question
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 16367
Experience:  15 years exp all aspects of general law
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Mike a fifth grade student complained to his teacher about

Customer Question

Mike a fifth grade student complained to his teacher about another student who repeatedly harassed him. Mike told his teacher that Jenny tried to kiss him on the playground and tried to kiss him during after school sports. When Mike rejected Jenny's interest, she called him gay and got other classmates to call him a fag. Mike refused to come to class and his grades dropped. When Mik'es mom called to complain to the teacher about the harassment, she teacher said that this is typical schoolyard banter but agreed to make the harassers stay in durin recess as a punishment. Would the school district be held liable for peer harassment?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Legalease replied 7 years ago.

Yes, this is actually sexual harassment between the students and you should check to see if the school district actually has a written policy prohibiting these things from going on. If you do not feel that the teacher's reaction was strong enough and/or the children are still doing it, then you should take the matter to the school principal and/or the school superintendent until it does stop. Perhaps they can suggest a plan to have a counselor speak with all of these students to show that this is not appropriate behavior and/or move Mike's classroom so he is not in constant contact with the same children. You should not give up and be brushed aside on this matter if you believe it is deeply concerning to Mike and to you. Obviously, the school should be taking some appropriate, positive action to make sure these kids know that this behavior is wrong. If you get no satisfaction, you may want to talk to an attorney who can re-inforce your requests with a letter to the school (suing the school system is an extreme last resort -- and it might be difficult to get an attorney to handle a case like this to sue, but you should be able to get an attorney involved to write a letter on Mike's behalf).


I know that the attitude of the teacher is "kids will be kids" -- but when the behavior becomes so extreme that one child does not want to go to school anymore, then something must be done above the teacher's head to handle the matter.




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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
This is just a made up case so what constitutional arguments and policay arguments can I use?
Expert:  Legalease replied 7 years ago.


It is a case of sexual harassment. And, if there is a policy in place in the school district for handling sexual harassment claims, then they are not following their own policy.


I will opt out and let other experts weigh in on the subject if they so choose to do.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
This is a made up scenario so I don't know about the schools policy. This is for a paper I have to write and I have to explain if the school would be held liable for the harassment, so what arguments can I conclude in my paper?
Expert:  Legalease replied 7 years ago.
They can be held liable for the sexual harassment if they do not handle it appropriately when the parent complains. If an institution such as a school sets forth a policy to handle sexual harassment cases and then it can be shown that the teacher did not put the parent on the right path to addressing the sexual harassment of her son in the manner set forth according to the school policy, then the school can be sued and held responsible for the sexual harassment. However, if the school responds appropriately and moves Mike to another class and/or gives counseling to the other students that this type of behavior is unacceptable, then the parent will not have a lawsuit that can be won in court. In sexual harassment claims, it is the response of the organization (school, employer) that can make all of the difference here.