Assault and Battery at School...
(Aurora, Colorado, USA)
It was my 16 year old daughter's first day of school. In her third period a girl in the class made several racial comments about white girls not being able to fight, and the teacher had warned her several times to stop. At some point in the class the girl walked up to my daughter and said "you white bitches can't fight."
She was taunting her, my daughter asked her to stop and just leave her alone, but she would not. She pushed her way through the desks and face-butted my daughter, and then punched her in the face several times.
My daughter tried to kick her to get her off of her. The girl then grabbed my daughter by the hair and slammed her head into the desk several times. The other students in the room stood around laughing and egging it on. The substitute teacher had no luck at trying to pull the girl off of my daughter.
My daughter is now terrified to go back to school, however she really wants to. The school has told us that they are pressing charges for Assault, Battery, and Mischevious conduct.
I believe the school should have had more control and should have been able to protect my daughter. This girl should have been taken out of the classroom after the first or at least the second time she was told to stop the racial comments.
Do I have any legal recourse against the school for not stopping this before it became physical?
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ANSWER for "Assault and Battery at School...":
Debbie (Aurora, Colorado, USA):
You may have some legal recourse against the school. Regrettably, to pursue a legal claim of any substance against the school your daughter would have had to suffer some injuries. The injuries don't have to be only physical. You mentioned your daughter was terrified by the assault. That is more than understandable.
If you think your daughter needs counseling take her to your family doctor. She will be able to best determine if your daughter needs mental health counseling. The most important matter is your daughter's mental and physical well-being.
At or about the time your daughter is seeking medical treatment and psychological counseling contact the school principal. Let the principal know how upset the entire matter has made you and more importantly, your daughter. By now the principal is well-aware of the assault and the student's arrest.
You must understand teachers, especially substitute teachers, aren't trained to interfere in assaults. They aren't police officers. You mentioned the substitute teacher made an effort to end the assault. That is all she was able to legally do. There have been too many lawsuits against schools and teachers for interfering in assaults between children. It's a sad commentary that teachers have been instructed not to interfere in assaultive behavior, but regrettably that is the nature of the litigious society in which we live.
You might also sit down with a personal injury attorney. A qualified one will be able to advise you whether a lawsuit would be advisable. Most personal injury attorneys do not charge any fee for an initial office consultation. That would be the smart thing to do.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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