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In a study recently conducted by the New York Health Department, it was estimated that 18 percent (almost one in five) of students in New York City public high schools have been the victims of some type of bullying or harassment.
Bullying within the school walls and cyberbullying, the use of the Internet, web site, or texts to abuse the victim, have had a significant impact on victims, especially seen in the last two years, when two students, who had been bullied, committed suicide. The study shows that one in six victims of this type of abuse tried to take their own lives; this rate being 2.5 times more likely than students who were not bullied. Race did not seem to be a significant factor in the bullying as victims classified as Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians all were victimized at a similar percentage, between 16 to 20 percent. With regards to gender, the percentage of children who were bullied on school grounds was more or less the same, whereas girls were more likely to be cyber-bullied than their male counterparts (13 percent as compared to 9 percent, respectively). 

The Impact of Bullying

The impact of the bullying has a significant impact on the students personal and educational lives, as children who were found to be the victims of this harassment were more likely to skip school to avoid their abusers, and 32 percent of victims self-mutilated or harmed themselves in some way, as opposed to 13 percent of non-bullied children who self-mutilated.

The obvious physical, emotional, and psychological effect of bullying on children has been significant and is a widespread practice. In the past, it was assumed that the "mean girls" would always be present in high school, and that high school torment was a basic rite of passage. However, the law has been stepping in, and creating a duty of the public schools to stop the bullying and harassment among its students.

New York Anti-Bullying Laws

New York enacted in 2011, and has added additional amendments to, Anti-Bullying Laws, whose purpose is to ensure that schools recognize and implement their duty to provide a safe environment where children are able to learn and thrive. Schools, along with their superintendents, principals, and teachers, have an affirmative duty to implement standards, policies, and anti-bullying provisions, to investigate and respond to students who report harassment, bullying or discrimination within the school, and to protect victims who have reported these abuses from further harm. Under New York Law, discrimination according to the following is banned under anti-bullying laws:

  • Race;
  • Color;
  • Weight;
  • National Origin;
  • Ethnic Group;
  • Religion or Religious Practice;
  • Disability;
  • Sexual Orientation; and
  • Gender or sex.

Factors to Show a School's Liability

Schools may be held liable for the injury or death of a bullied victim when the following factors are available:

  • The school had a duty to provide a safe school environment for its students;
  • The school knew or had reason to know that the student was being bullied or harassed;
  • It was foreseeable that there would be further bullying and harassment of the student; and
  • The school did not take reasonable steps to prevent further bullying of the student.

NYC Personal Injury Attorneys

If your child has been injured on school grounds, either due to bullying or due to poorly-maintained facilities, feel free to contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys at Keogh Crispi, P.C., who serve the New York City area, and who will be able to help evaluate whether your child's school was liable for his/her injuries. Please contact us for an initial consultation either by calling us at 212-818-0600 or by sending us a message online.

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