There was a time when bullying – even severe bullying – was scene as strictly within the purview of schools and parents and those youth involved. Increasingly, however, as awareness has risen and cyberbullying makes harassment almost inescapable, these matters are being handled by the courts.
In Florida, a Coral Springs mother filed a lawsuit against the local school district in 2011 after she said bullying led her 13-year-old daughter to the brink of suicide. In 2012, parents of a Palm Beach County middle school student filed a civil lawsuit against the local district for incessant bullying of their 14-year-old son suffered repeated thefts, harassment and stalking by the son of the principal, who did nothing to address the problem. Earlier this year, parents of a 12-year-old Orlando-area girl who killed herself after being bullied for months on social media (being told to “drink bleach and die” and “go kill yourself”) sued the school district for failing to stop the harassment.
But it’s not just Florida. Recently, a bullying lawsuit made it all the way to the state supreme court in Connecticut, where justices ruled plaintiffs in Hayes v. City of Middletown were entitled to a new trial, after finding numerous errors by both the trial and appellate courts.