We send our children off to school hoping that we are safe in the knowledge that they are being looked after properly and treated fairly by the teachers and staff in that institution. We trust our teachers and school assistants to take the place of parents during school hours, to protect our children from harm, and certainly to do no harm to them themselves. Sadly, sometimes this isn’t the case. There have been more and more reported cases of parents taking teachers, schools, or school boards to court over alleged unfair treatment. Let’s take a look at types of unfair treatment and whether it is ever worth suing a school.
As we have mentioned, most of us send our kids off to school in the hope that they are treated with respect and care, much like they would be at home. So what constitutes unfair treatment at school? Well, commonly, parents hear that their child feels they are being constantly singled out by a teacher. Many view this as a type of bullying. Bullying behavior from a teacher to a pupil is, of course, not acceptable, if indeed this is the case. Many teachers would argue that they were not bullying but instead trying to help the child with a little extra pressure. The lines can blur and make it hard to figure out what’s actually been going on. Another issue that has arisen within schools is unfair punishment by teachers. Gone are the days where corporal punishment was acceptable, so any physical acts by a teacher are a worry, and could certainly lead to discussions of whether it’s appropriate to sue.
Can You Sue For It?
In short, maybe, but there are myriad things to consider before taking the route of legal action. Wyatts compensation lawyers explained that the lines often blur between opinions, meaning that often people think they should sue while others disagree. What exactly constitutes bullying, harassment, or abuse at school? Is there any evidence to prove it is taking place other than the word of a child against a teacher? To have a successful case you would need to prove a persistent pattern of unfair conduct and behavior on the part of the school or its employees.
In the case of injuries, there is at least evidence in the form of damage to your child’s body. However, the challenge still lies in proving the school’s negligence led to such an injury. Did a teacher’s lack of concentration lead to an injury in the classroom? Or, maybe a teacher encouraged your child to take on an activity they were not comfortable with, leading to personal injury? If these sorts of situations arise, you may feel even more inclined to sue.
Speaking To A Lawyer
The best thing to do, whether the situation revolves around an injury to your child, multiple claims of bullying by staff, or some form of discrimination, is to speak to a lawyer first. If you believe the incident to be serious, speak to a lawyer before you speak to the school, before you speak to anyone connected with the school. A personal injury lawyer or professional negligence lawyer will be able to talk through the case with you and help you decide whether to sue, as well as whom to sue. For example, in some cases, there may only be one teacher whom you could sue, and in others, you may be able to sue a whole school or department. The severity of the case will, of course, influence this, along with how much money you may be able to sue for.
More Serious Incidents
Unfortunately, there are more serious forms of abuse recorded within schools. If you have any suspicion of sexual or racial abuse towards your child or any other, you should immediately contact your local police and a lawyer. Sexual harassment sadly occurs between teachers and pupils all over the world and any hint of it should be treated with the utmost severity. If this did happen to your family you would certainly be able to sue the teacher and school, so if this has affected you be sure to reach out to a lawyer straight away.
Although there is plenty of gray area in some of these examples, that is the same in many legal cases around the world. Our overriding advice would be to reach out to a lawyer for advice if you have any suspicion of wrongdoing on part of your child’s school. Whether it ends up in a lawsuit or not, it is best to get professional advice.