EL SEGUNDO – CASE BRIEF
Student v. El Segundo Unified School District
Counsel for Student: Christa Ramey
Representative for School: Melissa Moore
Decided by: Jury of Loss Angeles County
Date of Decision: August, 2022
- Was School district’s negligence, including in supervising and training its employees factor in causing harm to student?
FACTS OF THE CASE:
- A 13 year old girl was bullied, tormented and verbally assaulted by three students from November 2017 to June 2018 and one of the bullies started a petition to kill the victim.
- Student suffered from PTSD, cut herself and sought refuge in the school nurse’s office nearly every lunch break.
- The parents contacted school administrators and counselor for help, but they dismissed their concerns as drama over a teen love triangle.
- School district’s negligence, including in supervising and training its employees, was a factor in causing harm to student.
– Even after finding out about petition created to kill the student, teachers did not notify her parents.
– Bullying is to be taken seriously and the administrators are culpable when they don’t stop it.
– The former Principal falsely claimed that she has notified police as soon as she learned about the death threat against student. However, police was notified on the next day that too just few minutes before meeting with student’s parents.
– As per California’s laws and regulations, school must adopt a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying and procedures for preventing acts of bullying and cyberbullying.
– As per California’s laws and regulations, School must develop an online training module to assist all school staff, school administrators, parents, pupils, and community members in increasing their knowledge of the dynamics of bullying and cyberbullying.
– If school personnel witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, he or she shall take immediate steps to intervene when safe to do so.” (Education Code Section 234.1(b)(1))
- School is required to pay One Million dollars for failing to stop students from bullying.
– definition of “Bullying” under California’s laws and regulations
“Bullying” means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or by means of an electronic act, and including one or more acts committed by a pupil or group of pupils as defined in Section 48900.2, 48900.3, or 48900.4, directed toward one or more pupils that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:
- Placing a reasonable pupil or pupils in fear of harm to that pupil’s or those pupils’ person or property.
- Causing a reasonable pupil to experience a substantially detrimental effect on the pupil’s physical or mental health.
- Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with the pupil’s academic performance.
- Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with the pupil’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
– Policy requirements for schools to stop bullying
California school districts are required to adopt a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying and procedures for preventing acts of bullying and cyberbullying. School district policies must contain key policy and procedural elements, including, but not limited to:
- Statements prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying;
- Procedures for reporting and investigations, including timelines for investigating and reporting complaints;
- Publications of antidiscrimination, anti-harassment, anti-intimidation, and anti-bullying laws;
- Resources available to support LGBTQ and other at-risk students;
- Protections for complainants from retaliation; and
- Identification of a district officer responsible for ensuring district compliances with requirements under the law.
California school districts are encouraged to maintain documentation of complaints and their resolution for a minimum of one review cycle.