Harassed or Bullied Students
There is an increased need for attorneys to assist K-12 students who are being harassed and bullied in U.S. schools.
Despite over a decade of attention to this concern, efforts of schools to reduce bullying and harassment have had marginal to no positive impact.
Bullying and harassment of students is recognized as a public health concern due to the well-documented harms to students’ learning, as well as life-long emotional and physical well-being.
Efforts of the federal government to protect the interests of students who are being bullied and harassed, especially the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), are being substantially reduced.
To prevail in these cases will require successfully combating the common defense of schools — that every time the student reported, the principal investigated and responded. The effectiveness of this defense was evident in two recent circuit court decisions in the 4th and 6th circuits.
Based on both research insight and agency guidance, this level of school response is entirely insufficient to adequately respond to the specific hurtful situation and to correct the hostile environment that is supporting the ongoing harm.
These are resources Nancy has written related to legal issues and bullying, harassment, and cyberbullying:
- Legal Protections For Bullied and Harassed Students Primer
- Deliberate Indifference to a Hostile Environment
- Discriminatory Harassment: Establishing Knowledge in the 9th Circuit
- Office for Civil Rights Guidance
- Free Speech v. Harmful Speech
- Student Off-Campus Speech: Assessing Substantial Disruption Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology (2012)
- School Response to Cyberbullying and Sexting: The Legal Challenges. BYU Education and Law Journal (2011)
- Legal and Ethical Issues Related to the Use of the Internet in K-12 Schools BYU Education and Law Journal (2000)