When you leave your child at school, you expect them to be safe and in good hands. When an accident occurs, you may be left feeling angry at the school for allowing such an injury or incident to occur under their supervision. Schools owe a level of care to their students, to take care of them while they’re under their supervision. If that duty of care is breached to a certain degree, you may need to seek legal action against the school.
What Does School Abuse Look Like?
School abuse can take many different forms, such as sexual, physical, mental abuse or neglect. Depending on the age of your child, it may be hard to tell if they’re being abused while at school. It’s important to talk to your children about their time at school, and make note of anything that may seem off.
Sexual abuse can include sexual harassment such as comments or remarks about a student’s appearance or outfit or sexual assault, such as inappropriate touching or rape. In a study done by Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation (SESAME), they found that out of children in grades eight to eleven, 7% steed that they had experienced physical sexual conduct from a school adult. 10% stated they had experienced any sort of sexual abuse, including harassment.
Physical harassment includes harming the student physically in any way, such as pushing, kicking, punching, or hitting of any kind. Mental abuse includes yelling (in an extreme way, past normal expectations from a teacher), belittling, or making the student afraid they’re going to be in physical danger.
In schools, neglect happens when an accident occurs under the supervision of a school official. If the school official could have taken reasonable action to stop the accident from occurring, then they could be liable for the accident. This is even the case if one child is hurting another child. For example, if a fight breaks out and the school officials don’t break in to stop it, they may be liable for any serious injuries.
Examples of School Abuse Cases
In 2013, a former student of Shattuck-St. Mary school claimed to be sexually abused by former teacher Lynn Seilbel and filed a lawsuit against the school for their negligence. The student attended the school when he was 13-18 years old and claimed that Seibel abused him multiple times during his time there. The student lived in a dorm room that was supervised by Seibel. Seibel was charged in 2012 with 17 felony counts for alleged sexual abuse of six male students at the school.
A former middle school teacher in Anoka has had many students come forward to claim sexual abuse against him, and is facing 10 felony criminal sexual conduct charges from the five teenage boys that reported against him. The sexual abuse took place from 2009 and 2019.
In an elementary school in Minnesota, a teacher physically assaulted three black children in her class and segregated them from other students, causing both physical and mental harm to the children. One parent stated that their seven year old son was choked, leaving him traumatized. The student later transferred to another school district.
How to Tell if Your Child is Being Abused at School
If your child isn’t talking to you about their life at school, it may be hard to tell if they’re experiencing abuse. You should ask them about their day and make a mental note of any changes that you see in their personality. You may also notice them becoming more and more closed off if they’re experiencing abuse. If they’re experiencing physical abuse, you may also notice bruises, cuts, or marks on their body. Question them about them, and make sure that they feel safe when doing so.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against a School?
Yes, you can file a lawsuit against a school for their negligence. Because they hired the teachers, they are liable for any abuse the teachers or other school officials cause against their children. Most often the teacher will be fired immediately at the report of the abuse, and then the school will be sued. Filing a lawsuit against a school can be tricky, as they have a lot of protection put in place to keep themselves from being sued. With the right attorney by your side, you can get the compensation and that you deserve for your child’s abuse.
Contact a Child Injury Attorney
If your child has been abused by someone who works at their school, please contact one of our talented attorneys here at Sand Law. Our dedicated, experienced, and compassionate team is ready to help you get the justice that you deserve for your case. We’ll walk you through every step of the way and make sure to take the stress off of your shoulders. For more information, please contact us online, by using our chat box option or by calling us at 651-291-7263.