Bullying In Indio And The Coachella Valley
Bullying in the Coachella Valley and Indio is a major problem in the valley schools. This activity is not limited to the higher grade levels. In a recent survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they found that in the past 12 months almost 1 in 5 school children reported being bullied. It was also reported in the same study that 6% of the students stayed home from school at least one time per month because they were afraid of being bullied at school.
Bullying can take the form of online harassment. Social media has become the tool of willful and cruel minors who act out their own psychological issues by targeting their classmates. Quite often the victims are unwilling to report these physical or online attacks for fear of being labeled a, “snitch” or worse. The minor victims keep the bullying activities from their teachers and parents. So it is very important that parents be on the lookout for possible signs of bullying. According to Victor Gardner, a child and adolescent psychologist with the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, “parents should watch for the following signs or symptoms which may be evidence of bullying. Children may complain of headaches, stomachaches and nausea, or they may develop low self-esteem and lack confidence. Their grades may drop. If the bullying is occurring online, the child might stop participating in their favorite online activities.”
Parents of children who have been or are currently being bullied should know that they and their children have legal rights that can be protected. Bullying resulting in physical or emotional injuries are personal injuries that can allow the parents of the bullied minor to file a lawsuit for their child against the parents of the bully or even the school district under certain circumstances. At Barry Regar APLC we have investigated these Indio, Palm Desert, and Palm Springs injury claims against our school districts and the parents of the children who bully their classmates. At times, if the bullied child has not suffered a significant injury and the parents of that child does not want to file a lawsuit, we have been able to put a stop to the bullying by threatening the Coachella Valley school district with a lawsuit unless they investigated and intervened to stop the alleged bullying activities. At times warning the parents of the bullying minor that the parents of the bullied minor who contacted our firm has resulted in those parents stopping their child from continuing this bullying activity. Our Palm Springs personal injury law firm handles much more than serious auto accident cases.
California Civil Code Section 1714.1 provides in part that the act of willful misconduct of a minor that results in injury or death shall be imputed to the parents or guardian who has custody and control of the minor for all purposes of civil damages not to exceed 25 thousand dollars. This means the parents of the bullying minor can be on the hook to pay a damage award against them for at least 25 thousand dollars in the evident that they are named as defendants in a lawsuit and are found liable by a jury because of the intentional bullying acts of their child. If these parents had homeowners’ liability insurance or renters’ liability insurance then their insurance company would have to pay the damage award under the terms of the particular policy. It should be noted that the insurance company will have to pay the amount of the damage award which can exceed 25 thousand dollars up to the liability coverage limit of the policy. For example if the child who was the victim of the bullying suffered personal injuries, medical bills, and income loss in an amount of one hundred thousand dollars as determined by a jury, then the insurance company of the parents being sued for the tort,, of their minor child will have to pay the one hundred thousand dollar award to the injured minor if the liability coverage was at least one hundred thousand dollars and if the bullying activity also had an element of negligence included in the activity. The insurance issue can be complex under certain fact patterns and will be the subject of another blog. In certain circumstances the insurance company can and will deny coverage.
California Penal Code Section 272 imposes possible criminal prosecution against the parents of a minor child who engages in bullying activity if there is evidence that the parents failed to exercise reasonable care, supervision, protection or control over their children and the child causes significant damage and the parents had reason to know of the activity.
Our Coachella Valley school districts can be sued and have been sued for allowing bullying activity to continue when knowingly allowing such activity. The schools have a duty to supervise the activities of the pupils. The schools can also be sued on the legal theory of allowing a dangerous condition to exist on their property or in creating a dangerous condition of their property.
If you know or suspect that your child is a victim of bullying at school or away from school, you should contact the personal injury lawyer at the Barry Regar law firm to learn about your legal rights and the rights of your children.