Just last month, a Pittsburgh, PA high school senior was hospitalized after being assaulted by a fellow student. That's certainly bad enough.
Here's the worse part:
This was the 4th time this school year alone that this particular student had been assaulted at school.
In this particular case, I think the school will finally try to take some corrective action, and here's why:
Apparently, there was a cellphone video of the January 21 school assault; the video supposedly shows one high school student body-slamming the other student into the ground - head-first - on the school premises. The senior wasn't content to leave it at that; instead, the assailant proceeded to stomp on the student's head, rendering him unconscious.
This cell phone footage has now gone viral.
And that, I fear, is the ONLY reason why the school, given its track record here, will feel compelled to do something about it. Simply put, it's a terrible optic for the school, and its administration in particular.
How a Case Like This Might Fare Under New York Law
Granted, there are a number of key factors to determining whether a particular school assault presents a viable claim under New York law. But the facts set forth in the news reports of this incident suggest that one or more of the threshold determinations would likely be met, namely: was the school on "notice" of a potential safety issue regarding this student that, had they acted reasonably, likely would have prevented this incident from occurring?
To that end, there are two (2) factors here suggesting that this test would be met:
First, as noted above, this was far from the first time this particular student had been targeted or assaulted at school this particular school year, even though it only occurred in January.
Second, even in the context of the assault itself, the assailant had enough time to subdue the student, pick him up, throw him down, and stomp on him - and there was enough time for someone else to realize what was going on, take out their phone and video it. Presumably, that would also mean there should have been more than ample time for school staff to intervene and stop this incident before the student was seriously injured to the point of being rendered unconscious and unresponsive, where EMS needed to be called.
Simply put, the schools need to be held accountable, and need to do much better than this.