A growing number of civil lawsuits are being filed against schools for allegedly ignoring bullying, reports USA Today. Francisco Negron, general counsel for the National School Boards Association, says, “anecdotal evidence shows an obvious increase.” The lawsuits are increasing for several reasons, including increased awareness, new standards, and more experts in the legal community, says David Finkelhor of the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center. “People are more likely to know about bullying and feel that they have to report it,” he says.
Attorney Martin Cirkielsays he has processed 60 to 70 cases about bullying in the past two years. “Every single parent comes to us for the same reason,” he says. “They want to make sure what happened to their child doesn’t happen to someone else.” Jacquelyn Goss of the Point Pleasant Borough School District in New Jersey, where one of the nation’s toughest bully laws went into effect Sept. 1, says the lawsuits are detrimental to education. “School funding is in crisis, and if you are spending any of your discretionary money on lawsuits, that’s money that isn’t going into education,” she says.