How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102505
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Ely is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

IF I wish to file a civil complaint against a school, will

This answer was rated:

IF I wish to file a civil complaint against a school, will I need a lawyer?
Hello and thank you for requesting me, friend.

Well, this depends. Can you please tell me what happened exactly, and, what amount of money you would be claiming in damages (if there was money involved, and if not, just tell me what happened)?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My son is Asian American and in kindergarten was bullied on school bus by a third grader who is Caucasian boy. The administrators are all Caucasians and they refused my request to have the boy removed from the bus. The situation was handled very unprofessionally with lip service and the assistant principle on many occasion lied to me. Wrote to the Deputy Superintendent and he said my son's situation was not considered extreme or pervasive. The boy called my son a loser then later threaten to hit him in the face. I just believed that all of the administrator did not take the situation seriously and it maybe different if we were not Asian.

Thank you.

This is a difficult situation, of course.

To sue in state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state. Every cause of action has its own elements, and each element has to be satisfied for a cause of action to be successful in court.

This may fall under "negligence" (by the school), or if more serious, a state/federal anti-discrimination statute. One this I can tell you is that this is not small claims court, as small claims court deals with primarily financial issues - see here.

Ergo, since this falls into Circuit Court's jurisdiction, an attorney is strongly recommended (here, they do not see you as much of a threat without an attorney since you filing or winning a suit without counsel is unlikely). May I recommend the Illinois Bar referral program - here. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.

IMPORTANT: Please use REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces before submitting the rating, because this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects negatively on me as an expert, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. Do not worry, you may always ask follow ups for free after rating. My ultimate goal is your complete satisfaction.
Ely and other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

If I can prove that the school district did not follow their anti-bullying policy, will that make for a stronger case?


Thank you for your follow up.

Yes - this may strengthen your 'negligence' claim. Negligence consists of three elements: duty, breach of duty, and the foreseeable injury that subsequently results. See, e.g., F. Harper, F. James & O. Gray, The Law of Torts sec. 18.2 (2d ed. 1986).

In the past, parents have sometimes successfully used negligence claims against schools that fail to protect their children from bullying behavior.
Ely and other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am thinking of filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. Not interested in winning money just justice. Do I still need a lawyer?


It would be beneficial, yes, because the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights may not take an interest in this at first. An attorney can help "push" it along...
Ely and other Legal Specialists are ready to help you