Monday, March 08, 2010

Monetary award for victim of bullying

Last year we reported that a case of harassment previously dismissed by the lower court in Michigan was reinstated by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. And late last week a jury awarded Hudson Area Schools to pay the plaintiffs $800,000.
It's a very good result given the rising incidents of bullying in (and out of) schools. Our original post notes some of the horrific incidents experienced by the plaintiff throughout his school years. (He is now 19.) The report of the jury verdict glosses over some of the nastiness in favor of commenting on the significance of the monetary award. The jury clearly decided that even though the school addressed the individual acts of harassment against the victim (the judicial system helped too--one assailant plead guilty to criminal charges) they did nothing to stop the pattern of harassment against the plaintiff.
We shall have to wait to see how this verdict affects other cases, pending and future. I am especially interested in how potential large jury awards might rouse some educators from their state of indifference.