Bullied on the school bus?

by A

My 6 year old son always takes the school bus. Today I received a phone call stating that an older child has been bullying my son. He has been hitting him, talking sexually to him, and even pulled down his pants to touch him. The school says they will suspend the child for one week (just one week). After that the child has to continue to ride on the same bus with my son.

I really can't believe this. My son has been mentally disturbed by having another boy talking to him sexually every day. My question is, what can I do?

The school should have an adult to supervise these children. What was the bus driver doing? And this happened on a Thursday, why call me on Monday?

Every year you hear cases of children being bullied on the school bus and the school does nothing about it. With children so young, they should definitely have adult supervision. I will now have to take my son and drive every morning to school, but I can't do that because I have a newborn and it's way too cold to take her out.

Please tell me, can I take these people to court? What can I do? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Bullied on the school bus?":

A (USA):

While the actions of the older child are atrocious, at this point you really don't appear to have the basis of a viable legal claim.

To have the basis of a legal claim for injuries, your son would need to have sustained verifiable and measurable physical or psychological injuries. At this point, it doesn't appear he has. The mental bullying, albeit graphic and disturbing, doesn't presently constitute an injury to your son.

Having said that, be sure to have your son thoroughly evaluated by medical professionals. If they find he has suffered physical or psychological damage, and will verify those damages in writing, then you may have a strong case.

Report in writing to the school principal detailing the dates and facts of the abusive episodes, and your frustration at the school's failure to take more serious and binding corrective action. What you really want is for the bully to be removed from the bus, or for the bully to stop his abusive behavior.

If that doesn't work, you might consider telling the school principal you will report to the local television station the abuse, as well as the continuing failure of the school to take appropriate action. You can also notify child protective services.

While the entire matter is frustrating, you have a legal duty to "mitigate" the possibility of injuries to your son. This means you must do what is necessary to keep your son away from the bully, including continuing to drive him to and from school yourself.

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,

Judge Calisi

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