PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md –
The video of 9-year-old Saraia insisting that she did not want to fight has gone viral.
Despite at least a dozen verbal attempts to avoid a fight, another student hit Saraia repeatedly as the bus kept rolling along. The beating lasted several minutes.
Saraia’s parents had a meeting with an administrator at their daughter’s school, but they are frustrated because they want a bigger picture solution to the problem of violence on school buses.
They’ve reached out to the school superintendent and even the governor.
A spokeswoman for Prince George’s County Schools told news reporters this type of behavior is not tolerated. One student has been suspended for the fight.
Information for those contemplating a lawsuit
Schools of all kinds — public and private, from kindergarten through grad school and beyond, as well as specialized schools — are often the target of lawsuits. If you feel you have been wronged or injured by a school, you too may wish to file suit against a school or school district.
There are many reasons for suing a school. Among these are:
Improper Discharge. If you work for a school as a teacher or in another capacity and have been unfairly fired, you may have a case against the school. Usually, all administrative remedies must be exhausted before a lawsuit can commence.
Improper Expulsion. If you are a student at a school and have been expelled in an unlawful manner or for unlawful reasons, you may be able to sue for the damages caused by the expulsion. Here too, the administrative process should be followed first before filing suit.
Sexual Misconduct. If a teacher or other school employee engages in sexual misconduct with a student, both the person involved and the school can be sued. Schools can also be held liable for one student’s sexual misconduct with another. Also, as employers, schools can be sued by employees if they are subject to such behaviors as sexual harassment or assault.
Injury. If you, or your child, are injured on school grounds or within the context of school activities, you can sue for negligence.
Discrimination. Most schools are not allowed to discriminate against “protected groups” in their hiring or in their admissions policies. If you feel you have been discriminated against in an illegal manner, you can sue.
Educational Malpractice. While somewhat less common, lawsuits are sometimes filed against schools for failing to provide adequate education to students.
Excessive Punishment. If you or your child are subjected to unreasonable punishment, either corporal or emotional, you can sue. However, in order for the suit to succeed, the punishment must usually be extreme.
Failure to Provide Adequate Supervision. Parents are entitled to certain expectations of safety for their children attending school. If your child sustains an injury that could have been prevented by proper supervision, you may have a case against the school. Also, if an unsupervised student injures you, the school may be held partially liable if it has acted negligently.
If you want to sue a school, you’ll want to collect all appropriate evidence and then hire an attorney. Your attorney will not only advise you about the suit itself, but also about who should be named as defendant(s): the person involved in the act that caused the lawsuit (e.g. the teacher, custodian, etc.); their supervisor(s) such as the principal or superintendent; the school itself; the school district; the school board; or the organization that owns or operates the school.
As always, we recommend that you consult an attorney before proceeding.