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NYC Public School Must Notify Parent of Threat to Child, Bronx Court Holds


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10/15/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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Although I don’t generally report my firm’s results in this space, I felt that this recent decision warranted special mention. After a fight broke out in school between another middle school student in the Bronx and my client, which culminated with both students receiving an in-school suspension, the second student threatened my client, indicating that as far as he was concerned, “this wasn’t over.” Despite the school’s knowledge of the threat to my client, as well as the other student’s past propensity for violence, however, they did not notify either student’s parents of the incident, nor of the impending threat of continued, or escalating, violence. (For more information on this topic, see "How To Prove Your School Negligence Case").

Unfortunately, this is precisely what happened. Two days later, the other student had some friends “jump” my client on the way to school; they held my client down while the other student repeatedly beat my client, ultimately fracturing his jaw in two places, which later required surgical correction.

The municipality, which ran the middle school, moved to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that they were not responsible, as the incident occurred off of school grounds. In response, I cross-moved for judgment on liability, arguing that “if the Court were to accept defendants’ argument, a school with tacit, actual knowledge of an impending danger that became manifest during school against one of its own students remains free to bury its head in the sand, and deliberately cast a blind eye to the clear and present danger facing that child as well as its duty to protect that child as its de facto parent.” Fortunately, the Court agreed with our position. We won.

 



Category: School Negligence / Personal Injury

Jonathan Cooper
Employment Litigation and School Negligence Lawyer

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