Sue a School In Small Claims Court
A few weeks ago, a student of La Sierra Academy, Riverside, California named John, made headlines after discovering that their school counselor – Matthew Daniel Johnson, 31 – hid secret cameras in the boy’s bathroom and made tapes of young male students bathing.
In another part of the US, a female student from Ethiopia, who sought to pursue a higher degree, got rejected over 20 times and lost a ton of money in SAT and Application fees because her school kept mailing a badly erroneous transcript on her behalf.
What would you do, if you were in their shoes and you had your school authority try to ruin your life like that? That’s right. You sue your school.
Just like you can sue Uber or Comcast for a terribly unforgivable service, DoNotPay empowers you to sue any school if your child has suffered any form of negligence, physical or emotional assault at school.
Make no mistake, suing a school is not as simple as it sounds. This is because in some states like Texas, some schools happen to be protected by sovereign immunity, which means that a case cannot be brought against them before the court.
This article will walk you through how you can sue a school, the types of schools that can be sued, all the steps you must follow to make your lawsuit count, and how you can sue a school using DoNotPay.
What Type of School Can You Sue?
Generally, at all levels of education, there are two types of schools where your children can learn:
- Private Schools
- Public Schools
Private Schools: Though your private school may not be responsible for your child’s safety to the extent that they would be protected in public schools, they are still very much liable to lawsuits.
Public Schools: The law of sovereign or governmental immunity applies to all public schools established under the state, county, or federal government. This means you cannot drag them to court in an event that your child experiences something bad under their custody.
However, as a matter of responsibility, many more public schools are beginning to waive their immunity to enable them to get sued. These are mostly schools with sufficient insurance or those that have government financial backing to cover lawsuits and compensation expenses.
What Are The Established Grounds for Suing A School?
Because a lawsuit is a serious business, you have to be sure your reason for suing a school is a serious one as well. Whether private or public school, here are some of the grounds upon which you should sue a school:
- Intentional Acts
- Emotional Distress
Suing a School for Intentional Acts
When a staff member or the authorities in your child’s school bullies, harasses, assaults, racially discriminates, or does any other wrongful act to your child on purpose, you can sue them on the grounds of intentional acts.
Even if they do not directly engage in these acts but witness or approve of students and staff who do so, they are equally liable to be sued.
Suing a School for Negligence
Negligence is one of the broad reasons for which you can sue a school. To break it down, negligence includes all actions or inactions of a school authority or representative (teacher, guardian, caregiver) — intentional or unintentional, that exposes a child to mental, emotional, or physical harm in school.
Physical harm may include:
- Ingestion of harmful substances kept carelessly
- Food poisoning
- Battery, bullying, and physical attack by staff or fellow students
- Injury during play outside or in the classroom.
As a general note, a standard school will cater to the child’s security, food, shelter, and safety.
Any undesired complications that arise as a result of the failure of the school district to provide any of these necessities are tantamount to negligence.
Suing a School for Emotional Distress
No child deserves to go through negative experiences like emotional trauma in the same environment they come to learn.
Emotional distress oftentimes accompanies physical abuse such as sexual harassment or bullying, but more often than not, may be the product of non-physical (psychological) abuse, like racist remarks or systemic discrimination.
If you are wondering how to prove your child has been emotionally assaulted, you can get them to narrate their personal experience, use an incident report form to gather other witness accounts, and even obtain a doctor’s report confirming changes in behavior, vital signs, and performance decline.
How To Sue a School District Yourself
Remember, it is your right to sue and demand justice but you also have to get it done rightly and promptly.
Follow this table to see how you should sue a school district.
|The stages involved||What step to take||How much time you have|
Confront the appropriate school district authority.
|If your child has been harmed at school or you notice any physical or emotional assault on your child, the first person you should do is to talk to an authority at the school.
You could start from the teacher, guardian or principal. Ask them what plans they have to remedy the situation.
Document your evidence.
|All physical assaults, injuries to the body, or any marked changes in appearance or behavior of your child during and after the incident should be properly recorded.||Document immediately.|
Prepare a Notice of Claim.
|This is a document informing the school district of your intent to sue. It is a necessary step you have to take before getting your intended lawsuit filed.
A notice of claim typically involves:
|Depending on your state’s statute of limitations, you generally want to submit a notice of claim within 60 – 90 days.|
File a lawsuit in court.
|This stage involves:
||Usually, you are required to head to court as a final step, 30-60 days after filing a notice of claim.|
You need to know that in most cases, the school will likely deny the claim and attain a strong defense lawyer. That’s why DoNotPay has streamlined the entire process on your behalf.
Sue a School with DoNotPay
Just like in the case of John and the Ethiopian student, DoNotPay can help you file a lawsuit against your school for negligence, sexual or physical assault, or any other violation of your right. This highly effective AI-powered online lawyer helps you prepare all the documents you need to start your case and file your claim.
Here are the steps to follow to sue a school with DoNotPay:
- Go to DoNotPay from any browser and select the Sue Now product.
- Enter the dollar amount you feel entitled to in damages.
- Specify if you want a demand letter or a court filing form.
- Describe the reason for the lawsuit and submit any applicable details, including, but not limited to, photo or video evidence.
That’s it! DoNotPay will then generate a demand letter or court filing forms for you. We will even mail a copy of your demand letter to the school you are suing.
DoNotPay is Your Personal AI Assistant
DoNotPay doesn’t stop at helping you sue a school. We can also help you with a wide range of day-to-day legal issues:
- Catching Robocallers
- Canceling any service or subscriptions
- Connecting with an inmate
- Avoiding college application fees
- Stopping email spam
- File a lawsuit against AT&T
- Take legal action against Uber
- Sue Verizon
- File a suit against a company without a lawyer in small claims court
- File a claim against insurance companies
- Sue an airline