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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Experienced in both state and federal court.
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My 11 year old nephew was beat up at school by a student who

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My 11 year old nephew was beat up at school by a student who forced him into a school bathroom (captured by the school's surveillance) at the end of the school day. He was apparently sent home with a moderately deep head laceration by the school nurse who placed the child on the school bus. She notified my sister, the sole parent, after thebus had left. Upon arriving at home e police was notified (who failed to record the report or gather evidence insisting that e child return to school the next day and file the report with the school police officer). He was evaluatedfor medical repair of the laceration and monitored or closed head injury. In addition to filing battery charges against the student, my sister wonders if the may be sufficient evidence for civil action against the school and school nurse who placed the child in even more danger by not immediately contacting the parent and also by sending a child with a closed head injury and open laceration on the school bus. Innspeaking with school officials we learn that multiple other events with the perpetrator of the battery have occurred, but the school has not taken disciplinary action. We believe that by keeping a known offender there places all children t risk. Thus the school is highly negligent.

Is there a potential action against the school?

TexLawyer :

Good afternoon. I'll be assisting you with your question.

TexLawyer :

First off, I'm sorry to hear about your nephew's situation at school. I know these things can be very frustrating to deal with.

Customer: thank you.
TexLawyer :

There are really two separate issues here. I'll address the nurse sending him on the bus with a laceration first.

TexLawyer :

The first question that you would want to address is whether a lawsuit for that would benefit you in any way. Based on what you've said, while probably poor judgment on the nurse's part, sending him on the bus and waiting to notify the parent does not appear to have caused him any injury. Had complications occurred as a result, or had the wound become infected because of those decisions, you may have a basis for a lawsuit, but, in this case, that does not appear to have happened. As such, there don't appear to be any legally recognizable damages.

Customer: Phone of our concerns is to make sure the school takes issues of child safety seriously. It appears that my nephew will be ok, but he required medical attention. The fact that the CHI could have resulted in more serious harm should not preclude raising the matter.
Customer: Sorry... The first sentence above shoul read.....One of our concerns
TexLawyer :

It doesn't preclude you from bringing a lawsuit, but you would basically be spending thousands of dollars to recover very little. If the principle alone is worth it, you may have something to pursue. Just the expense of litigation is enough to get the school district to amend its policies and practices.

TexLawyer :

Regarding the bullying incident, you do have a right to sue for that as well. Students have a right to be free from bullying and sexual harassment while at school, and the school districts are charged with the duty to ensure that those rights are protected. In this case, it appears the district knew a particular student was a problem in that regard, and did not do enough to stop him. Of course, like most lawsuits, the devil is in the details. For example, the nature of the previous incidents with that student, what steps the district took, whether they followed their policy, and, if so, whether their policy is sufficient to protect students are all things that would determine if you could actually win.

TexLawyer :

However, you have the potential legal basis for a lawsuit. Whether you will win or not all depends on the details.

Customer: Again, in this matter is one of principle. When my nephew returned to school, the same student was present. My sister insisted that her child ( who is in the academically gifted program) not be on the same team, and preferably be expelled.
Customer: My other question is about this filing of the police report. Is it standard to have the child return toss hook instead of taking the report as soon as a police officer is notified?
TexLawyer :

I really can't address your school district's policies. Different school districts have different policies on when the police are called. Generally speaking, however, if a student has to go to the hospital as a result, the district would call the police. Again, that is just a policy question decided by each district.

Customer: Police wasn't notified because the nurse just sent him home. So he presented to the local police who then referred the matter back to school. By not evaluating the situation and ensuring that this child was no longer available for more injury, this seems highly negligent
TexLawyer :

I don't disagree with you. But, to have a negligence lawsuit, you have to have three things: 1) the person was owed a duty of care (you clearly have that here); 2) the district breached that duty (you have an argument to make); and 3) a harm occurred as a result (you don't seem to have that). Duty, breach, harm. You can bring a lawsuit without harm, but the school district could get it dismissed easily. You could argue that there was additional pain and suffering as a result, which would give you some (albeit nominal) damages, which would allow you to pursue the lawsuit, but, like I said earlier, it would cost thousands of dollars. If the principal of the matter is worth it, then you (or your sister) is certainly free to pursue it.

TexLawyer :

Does that make sense?

Customer: Physical injury braking the skin with bleeding and closed head injury is not harm? Perhaps not permanent harm, nonetheless. Psychological harm?..we do not know if he will need therapy or what after such a horrific inciden.
TexLawyer :

No, with the bullying aspect, you have a case. I'm referring to the failures of the nurse.

Customer: My sister does not have a lot of financial resources, before I offer my financial help we'd like to consider potential legal aid. I'd the such a thing? How do we get in contact?
TexLawyer :

There are pro bono lawyers, but it is very unlikely that one would take this sort of case. Generally, pro bono lawyers focus on family law cases, landlord-tenant, and much simpler cases that are typically fairly simple litigation and don't require experts and large scale litigation.

Customer: Thank you for your help. Have a good day.
TexLawyer :

That said, here is contact information for pro bono legal services.

TexLawyer :

Glad to help. If I can't do anything else I can do for you, please remember to "rate" my answer before you go.

TexLawyer :

Good luck to you, your sister and your nephew.

Customer: Thank you.
TexLawyer :

My pleasure. Have a great day.

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