What legal action can a parent take after his or her child is bullied? Can the school be held responsible? These were the main questions answered by Atlanta Criminal Attorney Noah Pines in the "Being Bullied" primetime special recently aired by Atlanta news station WSB-TV Channel 2. The special was broadcast live at Ridgeview Charter Middle School.
As part of the interactive conversation on bullying in Georgia schools, the news station turned to a panel of experts to answer questions on this topic. The panel included Attorney Noah Pines, who served as the legal expert for the news special. In addition to answering questions posed by Channel 2 and by children and parents in the audience, the panelists also answered questions that were submitted to the news station through social media. So many important questions were submitted during the broadcast that Attorney Pines stayed after the broadcast to address them.
One important issue Attorney Pines discussed in "Being Bullied" was the level of responsibility the school has when bullying occurs. According to Mr. Pines, the bar of responsibility has been raised for schools, thanks to legislative changes that occurred in 2010. He noted that the news laws require that: 1) bullying be formally defined, and 2) local school boards put polices in place for preventing bullying, investigating reported cases of bullying and letting parents know when their children have been involved in such incidents.
Can a parent of a bullied child sue the school system? Attorney Pines said they can, but only if the incident of bullying actually occurred on school grounds. Furthermore, the school must have actually failed to take action concerning the incident.
In discussing legal action that can be taken against the bully and/or the bully's parents, Attorney Pines said there are two options. One option is to hold the bully accountable through the juvenile court system, if the bully's actions can be considered a juvenile offense. Another option is to take the matter to civil court, which involves suing the bully's parents. So many questions were raised during the "Being Bullied" special that Attorney Pines was asked by the news station to stay longer so he could answer some of them.
Attorney Pines is a criminal defense attorney who also has a background as a criminal prosecutor. In the past, he has been interviewed on 20/20 on the topic of Internet stalking. Furthermore, Mr. Pines has been chosen numerous times for inclusion in the Super Lawyers® Rising Stars℠ list, a listing that includes only up to 2.5% of attorneys in the state.