Last week, a Sullivan County jury lambasted a School District with a $1,000,000 award to a former High School student in upstate New York who was bullied and terrorized over two years by other students. There was ample evidence of the specific acts of bullying because much of it was documented by a principal, guidance counselor, security guards and other employees. Despite being notified of the bullying the remedial actions taken never stopped the offending students from making disparaging comments, urinating on the victim, stealing his belongings and striking him. A state law which all New York school districts must comply with is specifically designed to prevent bullying--the Dignity for All Students Act.
The ultimate question for the jury was framed by an appellate court which restored the case for a jury trial after the school district had won a pre-trial motion to dismiss. The jury resoundingly said "no" to the following: "whether the school district adequately supervised the students involved in the bullying". Clearly, the school district failed to protect this unfortunate student who had to repeat 9th grade and, thereafter, transfer out of the school to another program to end his torment.