Without the requested information, I can only provide you with the following general response, which will hopefully still answer your query.
Bullying in schools is unfortunately a universal problem, which occurs more often that it should. The law on bullying in educational establishments is scattered across various legislative provisions and can be summarised as follows:
· The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 states that head teachers are legally required to draft a written policy on measures to encourage good behaviour and respect for others on the part of pupils and, in particular, preventing all forms of bullying among pupils.
· The Education Act 2002 requires schools and local education authorities (LEAs) to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Although this does not specifically apply to independent schools, there is a similar duty contained in the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2003.
· The Children Act 1989 requires all state schools to ensure the safety and to protect the emotional well-being of every person in its care and if a young person is being harassed or abused, the school must take action to protect them.
If a child is being bullied at school, the parent/guardian should approach the school to tell them about the situation and find out what they are doing, or planning to do, to deal with the problem. The parent/guardian would be expected to follow these steps:
· Talk to the child to find out what has happened
· Talk to the class teacher about the problems the child has experienced
· Talk to the head teacher if the class teacher’s response is unsatisfactory
· Consider making a formal complaint to the school if necessary
· If the school is not independent – complain to the LEA, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills or the Local Government Ombudsman
If all else fails, you may wish to consider legal action. Some forms of bullying may amount to criminal behaviour. Where a child who has been bullied has been threatened, the bully may have committed the offence of ‘threatening behaviour’ under s.4 of the Public Order Act 1986. If the bullied child is physically assaulted, the bullies may have committed the criminal offences of common or indecent assault. It is therefore possible to contact the police about this.
In addition, you may also consider action under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 if you believe the child has been harassed by its bullies. The law states that a person must not pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another and which he or she knows or ought to know amounts to harassment. Although there is no definition of what specifically amounts to harassment, it would usually include alarming a person or causing them distress and must have occurred on at least two occasions.
You may also be able to sue the school for damages as compensation for psychiatric damage or physical injuries suffered by your child as a result of a school or teacher negligently failing to act to protect your child from bullying. Negligence arises where a duty of care is owed to the child, and that duty of care is breached resulting in injury or damage to the child.
However, the law of negligence is very complex. For a case to be successful, it would be necessary to prove the following:
· That your child was bullied
· That the school/teacher owed the child a duty of care
· That the child has suffered as a result of the bullying
· That the harm was foreseeable
· That the harm suffered was a direct result of the school negligently failing to act to protect your child
Finally, if your child attends an independent school, you have entered into a contract with the school on behalf of your child. The school agrees to provide services to your child, including a reasonably safe environment, and may be sued for breach of contract if it provides an inadequate service.
Does this answer your query?