“Our unalterable resolution should be to be free.” Sam Adams
If your child has been bullied at school, the school has an obligation under state law to investigate bullying and take action against the bully or bullies. Some Georgia schools, like Harrision High School in Cobb County, ignore bullying complaints from parents and students, which serves to empower bullies and place bullying victims at risk of physical and emotional harm.
If bullying escalates into a fight, schools often choose to suspend or expel students (under the state’s zero tolerance for fighting), especially bullying victims, who chose to stand their ground by defending themselves. In some instances, schools will even have the bullying victim criminally prosecuted for fighting!
If your child has been bullied, or you or your child's concerns have been ignored or trivialized by school officials, we can guide you to a resolution. If you feel that your child has been injured emotionally, mentally, or physically, please contact the Skandalakis Law Group at www.skandalakislawgroup.com for a free consultation right away.
Do the following immediately to secure their rights under Georgia law:
1. If your child has been in a bullying situation that escalates into a fight, tell your child not to speak with an administrator or principal or write a statement unless you or your attorney are present. School officials sometimes demand admissions of fighting from a bullying victim who is defending himself/herself, just so they can resolve the matter as a fight rather than a bullying incident.
2. ALWAYS communicate in writing to the school principal, preferably by email, to notify them of each bullying incident and demand an immediate investigation. Email leaves an undeniable evidentiary paper trail. Make sure you include the following:
a. The name of the bully, if known;
b. The date, time and place of the bullying;
c. The type of bullying-physical (pushing, shoving, poking, slapping), language (racial slurs, demeaning comments);
d. A demand that the school immediately investigate the bullying incident;
e. A demand that the school report back to you the findings of their investigation;
f. If necessary, insist on a safety plan for your child that will keep the bully away from him/her. If a safety plan becomes necessary, do not allow the school to alienate your child by their segregating him/her from common areas such as the cafeteria. The bully is the one who should be segregated.
3. Secure and preserve any and all evidence of the bullying.
4. Document all incidents and the impact the bullying is having on your child and your family. The pain and anguish caused by bullying can last a lifetime and prevent a child's academic and future success.
Often children and their parents are afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation by the school or school bullies. This is a serious matter that should be entrusted to an experienced school-bullying attorney who is well versed in both state anti-bullying laws and local school regulations. If you feel your child has suffered this type of abuse and need a strong advocate, call the Skandalakis Law Group today at (770) 693-8715.
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