The Psychological Impact of Bullying

Gone are the days when bullying was considered a “rite of passage” and parents whose children have been bullied are told things like “teach them to stand up for themselves” and that “boys will boys.”  We know now that bullying has serious has a serious lifelong impact on a child, and that it has been linked to the current rash of school shootings. While laws on the books are being strengthened, the enforcement of those laws is lagging behind.  It’s time to hold schools accountable for the harm due to the psychological impact of bullying o their students.

According to National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment (NVEEE)“Every 7 MINUTES a child is bullied. Adult intervention – 4%. Peer intervention – 11%. No intervention – 85%.” Students who bully others, are bullied, or witness bullying are more likely to report high levels of suicide-related behavior than students who report no involvement in bullying (Center for Disease Control, 2014).  These harsh facts have led to stronger laws to protect students from bullying, but enforcement is lagging behind.  It is now clear that the psychological impact of bullying can be devastating.

The United States Office for Civil Rights, issued directives to expand existing laws (The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Titles VI and IX; The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504; and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, Title II) to address bullying.  School Districts can now be held liable for peer harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex or disability when it is “serious enough” that it creates a “hostile environment” and when harassment is “tolerated, encouraged, not adequately addressed or ignored by school employees.”  This put the onus on school officials to take immediate action to not just follow up on complaints, but to monitor for unreported bullying that is taking place at their school.

StopBullying.gov, an official website of the United State Government, suggests that parents look for these warning signs that your child might be a victim of bullying:

  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry;
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch;
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares;
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school;
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations;
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem;
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide.

Few States have laws allowing specifically for causes of action for bullying, so lawsuits are usually made under Federal Civil Rights Statutes.  New York, where the Dignity for All Students Act was passed in 2010 and went into effect in 2012, it does

In 2010 New York State passed the Dignity for All Children Act which places the onus on schools to monitor for bullying, in addition to taking action after they become aware of it.  This is an important component as children are fearful of reporting bullying.  This new legislative makes clear that schools must protect children from the psychological impact of bullying, but it does not provide for a cause of action to bring lawsuits for violations of the Act, so the actions must still be brought as tort action in State court or as Federal cases under the Civil Rights Statutes.

These cases are complicated to bring and often have administrative procedures which must be exhausted before an action can be started.  If your child is a victim of bullying, you should consult with a Child Injury Attorney or Civil Rights Attorney as most generalist Personal Injury Attorneys do not know how to bring these actions.  It takes an experienced and dedicated team of lawyers to work with the school to reduce problems for the child, while at the same time commencing litigation against a school.

FREE CONSULTATION

Is Your Right to Vote Disappearing?

Is Your Right to Vote Disappearing? wittenstein.com  has been a little over 50 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Right Act of 1965 into law.  Passed during the Civil Rights era, it sought to remove barriers meant to keep African Americans from voting on election day. These barriers included literacy tests, poll taxes, and intimidation by law enforcement officials.  By the end of 1965 a quarter million more African Americans were registered to vote. Since the initial passing, it has been amended a couple of times under various administrations to include other minority groups. With the tidal wave of Conservatism, these laws are being undermined [...]

The Difference Between Sexual Harassment & Sexual Assault

 The Difference Between Sexual Harassment & Sexual Assault It seems as if every time we turn on the news, there’s another accusation about sexual harassment or assault that comes up. We are living in a time where behavior that was once minimized and brushed aside is now coming to public attention. People now feel emboldened to speak up and are encouraged by movements such as ME TOO to take a stand. As more offenses come to the public sphere and terms such as sexual assault and sexual harassment gain traction, knowing the difference between each becomes increasingly difficult. Below we break down the difference.   What is Sexual [...]

Psychological Injuries Lawsuits

Some psychological injuries are so severe that they can be as disabling as serious physical injuries.  When a careless or reckless act caused intense trauma, special arrangements must be made when pursuing a lawsuit.  This concept originated with “collaborative divorce,” where a psychologist becomes part of the team so that settlement discussions can stay on track.  With lawsuits that involved extremely traumatic events, this formula can also be applied, and a lawsuit for psychological injuries can be brought. Of course, any accident is traumatic.  Fearing for your life when you are hit by a car or slipping on water and breaking your leg are “traumatic events,”, but these [...]

The Psychological Impact of Bullying

Gone are the days when bullying was considered a “rite of passage” and parents whose children have been bullied are told things like “teach them to stand up for themselves” and that “boys will boys.”  We know now that bullying has serious has a serious lifelong impact on a child, and that it has been linked to the current rash of school shootings. While laws on the books are being strengthened, the enforcement of those laws is lagging behind.  It’s time to hold schools accountable for the harm due to the psychological impact of bullying o their students. According to National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment [...]

THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX AND IT’S IMPACT ON CHILDREN

Prison conditions in the United States have the lowest standards compared to other highly developed countries, and the neglect and abuse in the for-profit prisons is worst of all.  Most alarming is the situation at Juvenile Detention Centers, where children as young as twelve years old are held.  Thankfully, there are inmate abuse and neglect attorneys bringing cases for these children throughout the country. In 2013, The Huffington Post , in the article “Prisoners for Profit”:reported: In 2001, an 18-year-old committed to a Texas boot camp operated by one of Slattery’s previous companies, Correctional Services Corp., came down with pneumonia and pleaded to see a doctor as he struggled [...]

When Should I Call a Civil Rights Attorney?

I get calls all the time with people asking me to represent them for violations of their Civil Rights.  Their neighbors are blasting loud music.  They have been fired from their job.  Their co-op is trying to evict them because their children are noisy.  Their neighbor is yelling racial epithets at them.  There is so much misunderstanding about what a Civil Rights Attorney can and can't do for them, that I want to take some time to explain. Lawsuits are expensive, and a Civil Rights Attorney will handle your case on a contingency retainer, but it must be an "actionable" case under the law where is it possible [...]

Load More Posts

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT OF BULLYING

2018-08-24T21:49:11+00:00By |0 Comments

About the Author:

Senior Partner Ms. Wittenstein began working at the firm in 1985 as a managing paralegal, learning all the practices and procedures of the firm from Mr. Wittenstein and the staff. From 1995-1998, she attended CUNY Law School where she made a mark as a teaching assistant for Civil Rights leader Haywood Burns. She founded a Human Rights Delegation to Haiti and studied Constitutional Law with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Working at the Equal Opportunity Employment Commision (EEOC), she learned a great deal about Employment Discrimination matters. She brought her knowledge of the Personal Injury practice and her passion for Civil Rights to the firm when she was admitted to the Bar in 1999. In 2000, she became a partner and the firm name was changed to Wittenstein & Wittenstein, Esqs. PC.

Leave A Comment