Article from the National Education Association. Bystanders, witnesses of bullying
need to realize they can pere personally sued for money damges if they witness instances of bullying and harassment and fail to Act. It is not just about school districts.
Article: Courtesy of NEA
By Michael D. Simpson, NEA Office of General Counsel
Most school employees are now well aware of the epidemic of bullying and harassment that continues to plague our nation’s public schools. Last year, at least six teenagers committed suicide as the direct result of being bullied at school. It’s called “bullycide” and it has to stop. It is a moral and legal imperative.
What every NEA member needs to know is that you can be sued personally for money damages if you witness instances of bullying and various types of harassment (based on race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability) and fail to take action to address it or report it. While school districts have traditionally been the targets of these lawsuits, school employees, in increasing numbers, are also being named as defendants.
For example, NEA members in seven states (Washington, Kentucky, Ohio, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Alabama, and Michigan) have recently been sued for allegedly failing to act when they were aware of instances of bullying and harassment. In two lawsuits against NEA members in Kentucky, one involving a student suicide, NEA’s insurance carrier paid damages and expenses totaling $280,000 and $275,000 respectively