It is perhaps every family’s worst nightmare: to have their child try or successfully end their own life because they have been bullied at school. Sadly, as the means of bullying spread via the internet, it seems to become common news. And for some families who feel that the school district, its board, officials, and/or students were active in allowing for the incident to happen, they sometimes decide to file suit for wrongful death.

Specifically, school officials have a responsibility to ensure students’ safety, and allegedly failed to do so in one particular incident, resulting in a student’s death. According to the lawsuit, the district and its officials failed to address many bullying incidents that had been happening for years.  In fact, when the student’s parents asked that their victimized child be moved to a different classroom in order to avoid those students bullying her, the Assistant Principal of the school allegedly declined the request. Officials also allegedly failed to remove derogatory graffiti that was posted about the victim. The parents of the victim are now suing to try and move the school district towards creating policies and procedures to address the bullying issues within the district.

Claims against School District

In a case in which plaintiffs allege that the wrongful death of their child resulted from the school district negligence, the complaint focuses on a variety of allegations. Some of these include arguing that the school district violated:

  • Their own policies, including the Student Code of Conduct, anti-bullying policy, sexual harassment policy, racial/national origin harassment policy, and any and all reports associated with these policies;
  • The U.S. Constitutional Amendment XIV Substantive Due Process (Fourteenth Amendment rights to life, liberty, familial relationship, education, and freedom from government actions that interfere with these);
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Discrimination on the Basis of National Origin and Sex Discrimination via the acts and omissions of the District with respect to the student);
  • Their obligations to maintain lawful policies and procedures;
  • S. Constitutional Amendment XIV, Denial of Equal Protection on the Basis of Race and/or National Origin;
  • Their duty to report child abuse; and
  • Their duty of care and supervision, resulting in negligence, recklessness, and/or gross negligence, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and wrongful death.

Wrongful Death Attorneys

While losing a relative is always a difficult and painful time for a family, losing your child as the result of the intentional or negligent actions of someone else (or an entire entity) can be absolutely unbearable.

Rhode Island law allows surviving family members to bring a wrongful death claim against the negligent parties to help ease certain burdens. No lawsuit can restore a loss like this, but a wrongful death action can sometimes help the surviving family members feel as though they are addressing any injustices associated with the death of their loved one, which they are.

If a family member has died due to someone else’s negligent or intentional act, the Rhode Island attorneys at Dana & Dana can help. Contact us today so that we can get started helping you.