Thursday, July 28, 2016

School Bullying

The Mississippi Supreme Court decided today Smith v. Leake County School District located here.   In this case, a school needs child was attacked by at least five other girls. Apparently she had been bullied for at least a  year.  The mother sued the school district and the trial court dismissed the case finding that the school district was immune from suit under the Tort Claims Act.  The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed.  The Court found:

"Examining discretionary-function immunity under Section 11-46-9(1)(d) and Brantley, the overarching function involved–holding students to strict account for disorderly conduct and preventing acts of bullying–is ministerial. And while Sections 37-11- 67 and 37-11-69 give Leake Central discretion as to how to prevent bullying, these statutes do not provide discretion as to whether to prevent bullying. Nor do these statutes override the ministerial statutory duty found in Section 37-9-69 to provide a safe school environment. For this reason, we reverse the judgment of the circuit court and remand the case to the circuit court for trial on the merits to determine whether Leake Central used ordinary care under Section 11-46-9(1)(b) of the Mississippi Code."

This case discusses what is needed to prove a bullying claim in order to impose liability on the school district. 

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