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Duncan Basheer Hannon

- 18 Apr 2017
  • Personal Injury

Can I sue my child’s school for negligence?

Children at a table

Having children start school can be an emotional and frightening time for parents.

It is important parents know their child is safe at school and are aware of their legal rights when it comes to the school’s duty of care to children.

Schools owe an implicit duty of care to their students. This duty extends to students on school premises and at events or grounds where the children are under the care, control and supervision of the staff members of the school, including excursions, camps and sporting activities.

When bringing a claim against an educational institution, one of the first things to consider is whether the injury occurred while the child was on school premises, or where they were under the control or supervision of staff members of the school. The second thing to consider is whether the injury arose from the school’s negligence.

For example, if a child is injured in the usual course of children playing, it is unlikely that a Court will find that the school was negligent. However, if a child was injured as a result of faulty playground equipment on the school’s premises, then negligence may be applicable. Another example of school negligence is when there has been poor supervision by staff of children playing or engaging in other activities such as sport.

But what about injury, whether physical or psychological trauma, which arises from bullying?

This is an ever popular topic, largely due to advances in technology and social media which means bullying can now easily follow children outside of school. Two of the most important things to remember when assessing a potential claim against a school for injury, whether physical or psychological, arising from bullying are:

  1.  The school knew or should have known about the bullying; and
  2.  The school did not take action within a reasonable timeframe to address the bullying.

Other factors that may be taken into consideration when assessing potential claims are;

  • Whether the school failed to comply with or implement their bullying policies.
  • Whether the school failed to protect the child against further threats or harm after finding out about the bullying.
  • How severe the bullying was, the length of the bullying and whether the bully is a repeat offender.

If your child has suffered injury, whether physical or psychological, while at school or as a result of suspected bullying behaviour and you are unhappy with the schools response, please contact us to arrange a no-obligation first interview.

Tell us your story. We're always available and ready to help.