Stopping Bullying And Harassment
With the rise in the use of social media, inside and outside of schools, bullying is becoming an even greater national concern. The amount and level of bullying have been increasing, affecting students at school and reaching them at home over the internet. Bullying is not only hurtful for the victim, but it also impacts families and entire school communities. It may also be illegal, especially when it targets a student because of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, height or weight, family status or disability. Below are resources about bullying that may assist you in better understanding this issue. Before our law firm gets formally involved, we recommend certain measures you should first try on your own.
- Put it in writing — Make sure the school is on written notice of the problems. That means a thorough complaint with names, dates and details of each incident of bullying, complaints, what was done, what the effect has been on your child and what you expect to happen. Edit this sample letter to suit your own needs.
- Follow their policies — Schools are required to have bullying policies by law. Their policies should be online or otherwise accessible. If they are not, request them in your letter. The Michigan Department of Education’s “model school policy,” which they recommend all school districts adopt, is also listed below in our bullying resources.
- Send a letter to the superintendent — If you can’t resolve the problem with the principal, send your letter to the superintendent and copy all of the school board members.
We Are Ready To Help
If this approach does not go a long way to resolve the bullying, and/or if your child suffers a serious injury because of the bullying (physical harm, suicide attempts, diagnosed mental or emotional illness), please contact our firm for a formal consultation and possible legal representation. At NachtLaw, our attorneys are committed to helping students who have been bullied and harassed at school. Our attorneys are experienced at handling a wide range of education law and discrimination matters on a state and federal level in Michigan.
Protection Under Federal Discrimination Laws
While every student should be allowed to attend school without harassment or bullying from students or teachers, there is no federal law expressly forbidding bullying in schools. There are limited protections available to students who have suffered discrimination, harassment or unfair treatment:
- Discrimination based on a person’s race, color or national origin is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Discrimination based on a student’s sex or gender is prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
When a school district knowingly allows these kinds of violations to occur, it may be legally responsible. An experienced team of education lawyers is necessary if you want to protect your education rights.
Experienced Education Law Attorneys
Our attorneys have experience handling discrimination cases before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. Attorney Nicholas Roumel draws on his experience as a former school board member in the Ann Arbor Public Schools to help him stand up for students and education rights throughout Michigan. To learn more about our practice and to discuss your case with an attorney at our firm, contact us. With offices in Ann Arbor, Birmingham and Traverse City, NachtLaw serves clients throughout Michigan.