Does a School Have a Duty to Intervene In a Bullying Situation?

School Staff Have a Legal Duty to Act In a Similar Manner As a Careful or Prudent Parent By Properly Addressing a Bullying Situation.

Understanding the Legal Responsibility of Schools and Teachers to Adequately Address Bullying Situations

Bullying By Classmates Bullying comes in a variety of forms.  Bullying can lead to depression, loss of esteem, and even to suicide, among victims.  Accordingly, bullying involves very serious concerns that can cause a lifetime issues that warrant proper attention, and deservedly so.

The Law

School boards may be liable for failure to properly address bullying concerns whereas a school board is required to provide care similar to that of a, "...  the careful or prudent parent"; Myers v. Peel (County) Board of Education, [1981] 2 S.C.R. 21 at page 31; Karam v. Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, [2014] O.J.  No.  2966 at paragraph 37.  Explicitly, it was said in Patrick v. St. Clair Catholic District School Board, 2013 ONSC 4025 at paragraph 200 that:

"… boards of education and their staff owe a duty of care to students, both in the school and on the schoolyard during official school hours.  … The standard of care is recognized to be that of a prudent and reasonable parent."

While legal representatives such as paralegals can help advocate for liability against schools, among others, parents should also seek the assistance of esteem support groups.  In addition to potential claims for negligent supervision against school boards, other legal issues may exist.

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