School Bullying & Harassment

If the bullying or harassment is based on a student’s race, ethnic background (including ethnic based attributes such as accent, customs, appearance, etc…) sex (including gender based attributes, stereotypes, or physicality), pregnancy, religion or disability, it does not belong in a school setting and is illegal.

What Laws Prohibit Bullying and Discrimination in School?

Federally funded schools (including colleges and universities) generally have an obligation to resolve discriminatory harassment when it is based on race, national origin, color, sex, disability, or religion. If that harassment (i.e. bullying) is severe, pervasive and creates a hostile work environment that interferes with the student’s involvement with the institution, then a legal claim may result.  A school that fails to respond appropriately to harassment of students based on a protected class may be violating civil rights laws such as:

  • Title IV and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA)

At Reavey Law LLC, we have experience advocating for an individual’s right to be free from illegal forms of discrimination and harassment and that advocacy extends to students’ rights to remedy illegal bullying or harassment in the educational setting. The bullying may not only come from a student’s peers, but sometimes from his or her teachers, coaches or even members of a school’s administration.  If your child is a victim of a bullying, discriminatory, harassing or retaliatory action at school, contact our office for a free consultation.

Bullying and Harassment at School – Illegal Discrimination and Harassment

A school or university has an obligation to take action to resolve harassment, including a prompt, impartial investigation, appropriate follow up and prevention of retaliation. The school’s failure to take appropriate action — though appropriate action may vary by circumstances – may entitle you to pursue a legal claim.

Not all bullying, unfair or discriminatory treatment of a student at school is unlawful. In fact, it is sometimes difficult to show that such illegal conduct against a student is based on “protected classes” or “prohibited criteria.” These classes or protected criteria are as follows: (1) race, (2) ethnic background (including ethnic based attributes such as accent, customs, appearance, etc…) (3) sex (including one’s gender based attributes, stereotypes, or physicality), (4) pregnancy/childbirth, (5) religion or (6) disability. To challenge the conduct or environment you must believe and show that it was one or more of these criteria that played a role in the conduct at issue.

Failure to Supervise – Illegal Discrimination and Harassment

Additionally, sometimes the potentially unlawful treatment a student endures is the result of the educational institution’s failure to supervise the students. If there is a situation in which your child or student has been harmed in the educational environment, it may be important to evaluate the timing and circumstances of that harm and evaluate whether the school failed in providing appropriate supervision. The school may be liable under the law for failing to supervise student behavior.

Contact an Experienced Kansas City Attorney To Consult About School and Education Based Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment

If you feel your child has been harmed by illegal bullying or harassment at school, contact an experienced attorney at Reavey Law LLC for a free consultation. After-hours and weekend appointments are available if necessary.