This is truly a tragic story.

After transferring into a new high school at the beginning of a school year, a 16 year-old boy committed suicide at home, after more than 6 months of being subject to incessant bullying at the new school. The question is, how would this case fare if it were in New York?

A few months back, in "Can a School Be Held Liable for Bullying Under New York Law?", I set forth the general parameters for proving a school was negligent in allowing the bullying to continue that ultimately led to the student's injuries. Basically, the student's parents would need to demonstrate that the school knew - or should have known - about the problem, yet failed to take appropriate measures to prevent the incident from occurring (in legalese "notice").

In this case, there was apparently evidence that the school was on notice of the bullying problem, and failed to act appropriately. There is a second evidentiary hurdle that the parents would also need to clear, which is not obvious from the reports on this case: whether the parents were notified of the bullying issue by the school. This issue is of particular importance, especially given that the suicide occurred at home, rather than at school.
Jonathan Cooper
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Non-Compete, Trade Secret and School Negligence Lawyer
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