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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I have a question regarding an incident of assault and the

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I have a question regarding an incident of assault and the responsibility/culpability of the school where this attack took place. My 13 year old son was attacked in the boys changing room at his secondary school as he changed for his PE lesson yesterday (5th May) at 10.40am. Three boys, from the same year group, then proceeded to attack him as part of an unprovoked attack, with one of the boys aiming specific punches at my son's eyes. He was knocked to the floor and received blows to his face and left eye, including punches to his ribs. Most of the other students witnessed the attack whilst it took place and encouraged it, whilst only one student tried to prevent it unsuccessfully. The three perpetrators then tried to become friendly after the attack and told my son not to report it to the teacher, or anyone else; my son refused their gesture at which point he was intimdated by one of the boys who said that they, and other boys that were part of his gang, would be looking to attack him again after school. The PE teacher in question was not present in the changing room, but was then summoned by another student. He asked my son what had happened and after the chain of events was explained, the three perpetrators were sent to an isolation room. My son was left badly shaken by the incident and was escorted to the medical room where an ice pack was applied to his face. Shortly afterwards, he was asked to write a statement about what happened.
At no point was I informed about this incident by the school by telephone. It was not until my son arrived home at 3.30pm that he relayed the events to me. I called the school and was unable to get through to the Head of Year. I then called my GP who advised to take my son to the local NHS Walk In Centre; after being examined, the doctor told us he had not received any serious injury and only had some localised swelling around his eye, however, his front tooth had been chipped. I also reported this incident to the police who took a full statement from my son and they are currently investigating.
Presently, my son is still in a state of distress following the incident and did not want to go to school today for fear of further attacks. I accompanied him and also had a discussion with the Head of Year in person. He explained the matter was being investigated and that the three boys had been isolated from the main body of students, with one of the boys, the ringleader, likely to receive a final warning that would see him permanently excluded if another incident occurs. I then asked to speak to the headteacher and was advised I could only talk to one of the deputy heads who was stationed by the school date. I tried to explain to her my overall concerns, however, I did not get the impression that my feedback was taken seriously, nor was I invited for a formal discussion on the matter.
My interpretation is that the school is not treating this matter with the seriousness and gravitas it deserves, particularly as this attack is the latest illustration that the school do not have a grip on controlling violence and bullying within its domain. I am aware that the ringleader of the attack on my son was involved in a previous incident where a member of the public was attacked in the local High Street; this boy is a known troublemaker to the school. Furthermore, in an unrelated incident a few weeks ago, another student was stabbed on his hand with a metal compass, which was witnessed by my son and other students. The victim was so scared about about the repurcussions of reporting the incident that he did not tell anyone. It's only after my son told me that I reported this to the school, who promised to keep me informed of the conclusion of their investigation; to date, I have received no update.
Given these two incidents and the culture of gear and intimidation that is pervading throughout the school, I do not feel secure in sending my son to this school, who incidentally offer a very good education and have been rated as a top ranking secondary school. I consider that the school should be putting more effective measures in place to prevent these type of incidents happening, whether it is CCTV, security checks, or other comparable measures. The school have been negligent in their duty of care to protect my son and I would like to consider the legal options I have in:
1) Getting the school to acknowledge they have a very serious bullying problem
2) Civil prosecution against the three boys that attacked my son
3) Civil prosecution against the school for failing to protect my son and other students from attacks. My goal is to ensure that half baked punishments such as temporary exclusions for such serious incidents are abolished; these incidents should carry permanent exclusion. Additionally, the safety of the students is paramount; what safeguards or measures can the school put in place to prevent these type of incidents happening again ?
Your kind advice is appreciated.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.Do you say that the school knew he was going to be attacked and did nothing about it?Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi AlexI don't believe the school knew that he was going to attack my son at that particular time. However, the school are aware of this boy's violent nature as he has been violent to other students, in addition to attacking a member of the public. This latter incident earned the boy a temporary suspension from school, which I do not feel is acceptable. Since then, he is continuing to terrorise other students whilst the school seem to be treating this as a purely disciplinary matter and hope that the boy will reform his ways. His behaviour is criminal and in the public sphere would have earned him a criminal record; this wrist slapping approach from the school is something I feel is condoning this type of behaviour as the perpetrators know there is no severe sanction that could be imposed.If you need any more details, do let me know.
Have you reported it to the Police?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, it was reported yesterday evening after I took my son to the NHS Walk In Centre. They are investigating and have asked my son if he wishes to proceed to court if the cases progresses that far; he's agreed to this.
1) Just because there are 2 incidents does not mean it is a problem. It just means it has happened twice.2) Yes you can get a civil prosecution against the 3 boys. However the cost of this will be about £20,000 to go to trial and you wont get legal aid. If you lose then you would be responsible for the legal costs of the other side. Even if you do get a prosecution and you do win, then because they are under 18 you wont get costs or damages enforced. The parents cant be forced to pay, so you would get a paper Judgment and thats it.3) You have said the school didnt know about this - therefore without knowledge they have not been negligent. In the same way the Police do not have a duty to protect the members of the public, only if the school had knowledge then could you even consider a prosecution.The school can not be held liable for incidents which they do not know about.What you can do is write to the school and see what steps they will take to protect against future incidents. If they refuse to do anything then you can consider a Judicial Review. This is where a High Court Judge considers what the school have/have not done and decides whether its reasonable and legal.The Court will either agree with the decision or remit it back. Again you wont get legal aid for this and a contested JR is about £20,000 in costs.For more information on that process see: I clarify anything for you about this today please?Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your perspective, much appreciated. Do I have any legal grounds to request the permanent exclusion of the main ringleader from the school ?
No. Its a matter for the school and child. I am sorry.Does that clarify?
Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, thank you.