The recent horrific incident in which a young middle school boy was attacked and set on fire by five classmates brings to the fore the very real and prevalent problem of school violence and bullying. Who is responsible for the safety of your child in school if he or she is the victim of violence while attending school?
The answer is not always simple. As a general rule, school authorities stand in the place of parents during school hours and, as such, are responsible for the safety and well being of your children while under the school’s control, both on and off the grounds of the school (such as on a school trip).
An attorney, in determining whether a lawsuit against school authorities is viable, will have several questions: where did the incident take place; has there been any prior incident between this victim and the perpetrators, of which the authorities were aware; how common are incidents of this sort in this school; does the school have regular security protection such as guards or monitors, and were these security personnel at their posts at the time of the incident, etc.
It is very unlikely that the facts of any two cases are exactly alike. The difference between a viable case, or a matter that will not yield a basis for litigation, can be the ability of the attorney considering all the surrounding circumstances and simply knowing the correct questions to ask!
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