School Violence and Personal Injury: Legal Rights and Remedies

by Staff Blogger | September 25th, 2023

Parents and guardians trust schools to educate their children and ensure they are well cared for. Far too many families have experienced the upheaval of learning their child has been hurt in a school violence incident. Unfortunately, this often occurs because the school staff has failed to address safety complaints.

Acts of violence in schools, such as bullying, pushing, and shoving, can cause significant emotional harm and trauma to the victims. Gang violence and assault with weapons can lead to serious bodily injuries or, worse, wrongful deaths.

If you are harmed by the negligent actions of school administrators or staff in the Modesto area and all attempts to resolve the matter have failed, an experienced Modesto personal injury attorney can help you seek justice.

Understanding School Violence

Schools and colleges nationwide have seen an uptick in violence in recent years. Students have used guns and other weapons to terrorize fellow students and teachers. In 2022, Education Week reported 51 school shootings that resulted in injury or death. That is the highest number since they began tracking such incidents in 2018.

Clinical psychologists define school violence as any behavior that involves actual or implied threats. These behaviors include:

  • Physical violence: physical aggression, assault with weapons, and criminal acts like theft or arson.
  • Psychological violence: emotional and verbal abuse, including insults, threats, rejection, isolation, name-calling, humiliation, ridiculing, slander, lying, or punishing others.
  • Sexual violence: harassment, intimidation, groping, coercion, or rape.
  • Bullying: repeated and intentional physical, psychological, or sexual aggression towards others.
  • Cyberbullying: sexual or psychological abuse on online platforms, especially social media, including posting gossip, slanderous comments, libelous rumors, indecent photos or videos, and exclusion from online groups or networks.

What are the Consequences of School Violence?

School violence presents a risk of severe physical and psychological harm for children in Modesto. Besides general changes in a child’s personality or behavior, school violence can affect a child in the following ways:

  • Avoidance of school and activities with particular students.
  • Unexplained injuries or damage to the child’s belongings.
  • Anxiety and panic attacks.
  • A gradual decline in academic performance.
  • Work, sleep, or focus problems.
  • Social and emotional withdrawal.
  • A change in eating habits or hygiene.
  • Aggressive behavior.
  • Self-harm.

Legal Rights of Victims of School Violence

According to the California Supreme Court, school premises must be safe and welcoming. A right to safe schools is one of the specific rights guaranteed by “The Victims’ Bill of Rights.”

All elementary, middle, junior high, and high school students and staff have an inherent right to a safe, secure, and peaceful learning environment.

Teachers and school administrators must take reasonable action to protect their students’ welfare, health, and safety. Schools are legally responsible for four things:

  • Duty of care under Common Law.
  • Statutory duty of care.
  • Contractual obligations arising from employment.
  • Identifying the responsible parties and the potential liability risks.

When teachers or school administrators fail to intervene or stop a fight from happening, they can be sued for breach of duty. Minors cannot be held legally responsible, so the perpetrator’s parents or guardians may be held accountable.

Personal injury cases involving school violence can be complex. But a Modesto personal injury attorney can help you navigate the legal system to get the compensation your child deserves.

How a Modesto Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You

During school hours or activities, schools are responsible for preventing school violence. If the school fails to meet this duty of care and a child is injured, the school may be liable.

Many studies have confirmed the traumatic impact that violence can have on children. According to UNICEF, violence in schools can:

  • Reduce school attendance.
  • Lower the academic performance of students.
  • Increase the rates of dropouts.
  • Increase mental health concerns.

Under California law, your child may be entitled to compensation if they have been harmed by school violence. Compensation can include the following:

  • Expenses for medical care and treatment, including mental health care.
  • Pain and suffering compensation
  • Compensation for lost future earnings and lost wages

Teachers are also frequent victims of violence in schools. California’s workers’ compensation is available to teachers who have sustained a workplace injury caused by violence. In addition, teachers also have the right to pursue compensation by suing the school system if the administration has failed in its duty of care to provide a safe place for learning.

Consult a Personal Injury Attorney in Modesto

With the help of a personal injury attorney, parents can get legal expertise and the compensation they deserve.

If your child was injured in a violent act at school, you may have a case against the school system or the perpetrator. The right personal injury attorney in Modesto can be a necessary resource for those seeking justice for their injured child. Contact Berg Injury Lawyers today.