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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34506
Experience:  16 yrs. of trial experience
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My 11 year old son was accused by another student of stating

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My 11 year old son was accused by another student of stating on school grounds that my son was going to screw his girlfriend at school and at home and that he gave details of what he was going to do to her. I was not called at home until 4 hours after the accusation. The principal did not conduct a proper investigation, took the girl at her word, put my son up on stage in the lunchroom at a "reflections' table where everyone could see him including his accuser who was telling everyone why he was there, and the principal called my son's girlfriend's parents and told them what my son said. Can I sue the principal, the school and the district of Plum in Pittsburgh pa of Defamation, wrongful accusation, negligence, prevention of bullying?
Hi, My name is Philip. I am an attorney with over 16 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

You can sue. It certainly is possible. Though you have a few hurdles to overcome.

First, it is important to understand the limits of what you can sue for.

You ask about a lawsuit for

Defamation, wrongful accusation, negligence, prevention of bullying?

Based on your description, I agree this would be defamation if the principal was lying. But there is no cause of action (lawsuit you can file) for "wrongful accusation". It would, in essence, be the same as defamation.

Defamation is defined as a false statement of fact that harms the reputation of another. Example, if A says to B "C is a convicted felon" and C is not, in fact, a convicted felon, if C's reputation is harmed by this statement C can sue A for the harm suffered.

In this case, if the principal lied about you and that harmed your reputation in the community? You could certainly sue the principal as well as the district. But to win a judgment you would need to prove how the lie harmed you.

Example, if you were a business owner and the lie harmed your business? You could sue for the money lost.

What you describe, it sounds like the lie was about your son. If so you would need to prove how this harmed his reputation to sue. And that can be very tough to do...unless you have evidence to show how the lie specially harmed him or his ability to work/live his life, you may have a tough time collecting a judgment over a nominal amount.

So it may be you have a case, but it is not worth enough to pay the legal fees required to prosecute (you have to pay your own lawyers costs)

And you can sue for negligence IF you can show harm. But the same principal of damages would have to prove how you or your son were specifically harmed by this. To the extent you can prove damages you can sue. ask about suing to stop bullying. This is something you can sue for...the court can order the school district to take specific steps to keep your child safe. If you have gone to the school district and they will take steps to protect your child, you can absolutely sue and get a court order to the district to take steps to prevent you child from being bullied.

Let me know if you have more questions, happy to help if I can

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am not fully understanding your last statement about suing to stop bullying. Is that just insurance for my son's safety?

Sorry for the confusion Ma'am

Generally speaking you can not sue the district or the principal regarding bullying in order to receive money.

But you CAN sue and ask the court to order the district to take specific action to protect your son. This is called "specific performance" and is one of the powers that the court has...basically the court can order a person or an organization to take action (like, for example, to take action to ensure safety of children)

In order to do this, you would first need to go to the district and demand they take steps to solve this problem. If you do that? And the district refuses to take steps to keep your child safe, you can then sue.

I use the term "keep your child safe" since that is a duty of the school district.

The district has a duty to ensure the safety of the children in school. If there is bullying at school, and that bullying is creating a safety risk for children the district is required to take steps to stop it.

If they refuse to do so? The court can order it would have to prove your case. THe court is only going to give an order to the district if you can prove that they are not protecting the children (your child in particular). SO you would have to tie this to safety. But if the district is aware of bullying and not addressing it? That is a safety issue

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