Visitor Question

Can I sue my daughter’s high school coach for emotional distress?

Submitted By: A (California)

My daughter attends a private christian school.

She has been subjected to her coach’s bully behavior, and for the past couple of months she has had anxiety, depression, loss of appetite, she’s not sleeping, and she cries a lot.

This is her senior year and she is desperately trying to stay focused.

The school is aware of the problem but nothing has changed, which leads us to believe that they are supporting the coach’s behavior.

As a side note, the coach’s father is the principle. Is there any legal action we can take? Can we sue the coach for emotional distress? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear A,

You can sue anyone, anywhere, at just about anytime. But doing so is never a guarantee of prevailing. In your daughter’s case, you have a legal duty to mitigate your daughter’s difficulties. Inasmuch as the coach seems to be the culprit, you have a duty to remove your daughter from the coach’s domain.

Obviously your daughter is having emotional difficulties. If you believe the coach is the problem, then simply remove your daughter from his or her sphere of influence.

Realistically, if you sue the school or the coach on behalf of your daughter, you will most likely accomplish little more than to pay substantial attorney’s fees. You can always file a complaint with the school board, but that may not result in redress.

Moreover, from the facts you present, it is highly unlikely any attorney would accept your daughter’s case, especially in light of your ability to remove her from the danger to her emotional well being posed by the coach.

Your facts don’t mention your having talked with the coach, the principal, or any other person in authority. Before considering any legal action, you should exhaust your administrative remedies.

Doing so includes speaking with those in power and asking them to assist you in removing either the coach, or instructing the coach not to further act in a manner that your daughter and you perceive constitutes bullying.

Learn more here: School Gym Class Injury Claims

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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