When Can Bullies Be Charged with Assault?
When your child is the victim of bullying, it can be mentally taxing on the entire family. Remember that you must remain calm. Showing signs of distress might only make your child more overwhelmed and upset about the situation. Many parents wonder if bullying is a crime and if they can file a lawsuit. Like many aspects of the law, it depends on the situation.
If your child is the victim of bullying, reach out to The Umansky Law Firm. Our skilled attorneys will work with you one-on-one to learn more about the situation and inform you of your rights.
What Is Bullying?
Bullying is any unwanted physical, verbal, or other aggressive behavior from one student directed toward another. This behavior repeats over time or has the potential to happen again. In most cases, bullies have power over their victims because they are bigger, older, or stronger.
Bullying can manifest in many forms, such as:
- Teasing and name-calling
- Sexual harassment
- Shoving, hitting, tripping, and other kinds of physical violence
- Damaging belongings
- Demanding money
- Spreading rumors
Most bullying occurs in school, but it can also happen at the park or in your neighborhood.
What Can I Do to Help My Child?
Knowing the signs of bullying is crucial to helping your child. They most likely won’t bring the issue up, so you must be aware of their behavioral patterns. Some signs of bullying include:
- Missing or damaged personal items
- A different or unusual route home
- Complaints about being in pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Poor academic performance
If you can identify these signs, you can help before the situation gets worse. Once you suspect bullying might be happening, sit your child down and encourage them to have an honest and open discussion about the situation. Remember that you should inform the school and the other child’s parents.
Are Florida Schools Required to Prevent and Respond to Bullying?
All Florida school districts have a policy that prohibits bullying and harassment. District officials must have prevention programs and procedures for reporting cases. Once they receive a report, officials must investigate the claim and notify both sets of parents. Finally, schools have to offer counseling and other services to the victim.
Anti-bullying school rules also extend off-campus if the bullying substantially interferes with the victim’s ability to participate in school activities.
When Is Bullying a Crime?
Bullying might be a crime if the actions fall under assault, battery, or stalking.
- Assault is a threat by word of mouth with the means to do so, creating justified fear in the victim.
- Battery is hitting another person against their will or intentionally causing bodily harm against another.
- Stalking is when someone willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or harasses someone else. Cyberstalking is when an individual uses electronic communication to harass another.
Bullying could also be a crime when perpetrators target victims based on their race, national origin, religion, sex, gender, or disability.
In most cases, a judge will place anyone younger than 18 accused of breaking criminal law in the juvenile justice system. A juvenile court may find that the minor broke the law and keep them under court supervision, which results in juvenile delinquency. This is not the same as a criminal conviction, but it still has consequences, such as probation and community service.
When Should I Involve a Lawyer in a Bullying Case?
You should first contact the school when your child is the victim of bullying. If the school does nothing about it, contact a lawyer. They can write the district a letter about the situation. This will show officials how serious you are about this matter. A lawyer can also give you information about the possibility of filing a civil lawsuit against the bully or school for any harm.
Reach Out to an Experienced Orlando Attorney Today
We understand this is a very challenging time for you and your child, and you should not have to go through it alone. Contact the attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm. Our team will launch a full investigation into the case and seek justice on your behalf.
With more than 100 years of combined experience, our team consists of former prosecutors on the state and local levels. We have experience in a variety of cases and situations, and we have extensive trial experience. We’ll guide you through the legal process and explain your rights along the way.
To schedule a free consultation, call our office or complete our online contact form.