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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102496
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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My 10-year old daughter was bullied in school resulting in

Customer Question

Hi! My 10-year old daughter was bullied in school resulting in having to transfer out. Do we have a case?
JA: Can you tell me what state this is in? And how long has this been going on?
Customer: Chicago illinois
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: an incident report from my husband to the school, principal etc but nothing with police. We were discourage not to.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: the bullying was not only with the other children but with the teachers and principal as well. My daughter would come home with marks on her and the principal turned the tables on us and called DCFS saying we were abusing her.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 8 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only 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.

The answer is - possibly.

What do I mean by that?

To sue in a 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 because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.

Here, the school may be liable for negligence. "The essential elements of a cause of action based on common law negligence may be stated briefly as follows: the existence of a duty owed by the defendant to the plaintiff, a breach of that duty, and an injury proximately caused by that breach. (Kirk v. Michael Reese Hospital & Medical Center (1987), 117 Ill.2d 507, 525; Mieher v. Brown (1973), 54 Ill.2d 539, 541. See also W. Keeton, Prosser & Keeton on Torts § 30, at 164-65 (5th ed. 1984).) The sole inquiry before us concerns the existence of a duty, i.e., whether defendant and plaintiff stood in such a relationship to one another that the law imposed upon defendant an obligation of reasonable conduct for the benefit of plaintiff. (See Kirk v. Michael Reese Hospital & Medical Center (1987), 117 Ill.2d 507, 525.) Whether a duty exists in a particular case is a question of law to be determined by the court. Kirk, 117 Ill.2d at 525; Wimmer v. Koenigseder (1985), 108 Ill.2d 435, 440." Ward v. K Mart Corp., 554 NE 2d 223 - Ill: Supreme Court 1990.

The school has a duty to care for the child while she is there. This is from the doctrine of loco parentis, which states that the school is "in place of a parent" when the student is in school. See discussion of Henrich v. Libertyville High School, 712 NE 2d 298 - Ill: Supreme Court 1998 which touches on children being hurt in school as well.

In the last few years, schools have been increasingly sued for not taking adequate steps to stop bullying or other issues when the children are in their care. You'd have to show that the school KNEW about the bullying, but did not do anything to stop it. Moreso, that their negligence was GROSS or MALICIOUS. If this can be proven, then there may be a case.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND 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 THREE OR MORE STARS and then click FINISH to submit that rating, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two 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 with a positive rating (it does not cost anything extra to rate).

Expert:  Ely replied 8 months ago.

Hello again. This is a courtesy check in to see if you needed anything else in regards ***** ***** question because you never responded or replied positively. I am simply touching base. Let me know. Thanks!