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Bullying Part Two: Legal Implications

The following are some of the legal implications regarding bullying at schools in Georgia:

1. A school must not violate 42 USC Section 1983 by acting under color of state law by tolerating a custom or practice of bullying which leads to a deprivation of a student’s constitutionally protected rights.

2. Disabled students are protected under Section 504 and the IDEA which has the purpose “to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living; to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and parents of such children are protected.” See 20 USCS §§ 1400.

3. Under Georgia law, O.C.G.A. §20-2-751.4 (2010), Policies prohibiting bullying; (b) Each local board of education shall adopt policies, applicable to students in grades six through twelve, that prohibit bullying of a student by another student and shall require such prohibition to be included in the student code of conduct for middle and high schools in that school system.

4. Additionally under Georgia law, O.C.G.A. §20-2-751.4 (2010), Policies prohibiting bullying; (b) Local board policies shall require that upon a finding that a student has commited the offense of bullying for the third time in a school year, such student shall be assigned to an alternative school. Each local board of education shall ensure that students and parents of students are notified of the prohibition against bullying, and the penalities for violating the prohibition by posting such information at each middle and high school and by including such information in student and parent handbooks.

5. Furthermore, pursuant to Georgia law, O.C.G.A. §20-2-751.4 (2010) (c), Policies prohibiting bullying; (b) any school system which is not in compliance with the requirements of Georgia bullying laws will be ineligible to receive state funding. Thus if a school has been on notice that students have repeatedly bullied someone over three times, and yet none of these students have been assigned to alternative schools, it puts the school system out of compliance with the requirements for state funding eligibility.

6. Students who threaten to assault other students are guilty of criminal laws prohibiting assault and battery.

7. Bullying is a direct violation of student’s right s under the Georgia Constutiton which states in the Bill of rights Paragraph One: “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property except by due processof law.” And Paragraph Two: “Protection to person and property is the paramount duty of government and shall be impartial and complete. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws.”

To protect your son or daughter’s legal rights concerning bullying, or to seek help, contact the Oinonen Law Group LLC at 404-654-0288. A good attorney experienced in education law and bullying can be retained to assist your child.