Can I Press Assault Charges if My Child Was Beat Up at School?

DISCLAIMER: The content in this blog post (“post”) is meant for general informational purposes only. Publication of this post does not insure that Attorney Brian White & Associates offers representation for this type of case. Information found in the post does not constitute as formal legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.


As parents, we are governed by a fierce instinct to protect our children. There is little we will not do to keep them out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, we cannot always guarantee their safety. When away from our watchful eye, our kids can get hurt. It is natural to want recourse for the parties responsible for our children’s suffering. But can you file assault charges if your kids were injured at school?

Bullying Resources

Although we don’t handle bullying-related cases, Attorney Brian White & Associates understands the importance of raising awareness for this national epidemic and ensuring that victims get the support and care they deserve. Support groups and resources can be found below. If you believe your child is being bullied at school, reaching out to one of these support sites could mean the world to your child.

How To Stop Bullying

Putting an end to bullying as soon as it happens is the best way to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Adults should always lookout for signs of bullying and step in when possible. Teaching your children to spot the signs of bullying is also an important step in ending the vicious cycle of bullying. To stop bullying, adults should:

Do:

  • Intervene immediately. Ask another adult for help if necessary.
  • Separate any and all children involved.
  • Make sure all parties involved are safe and unharmed.
  • Provide any medical or mental health needs.
  • Stay calm. Reassure the kids involved, including bystanders.
  • Show respectful behavior when you intervene as an example for the children.

Avoid these common mistakes:

  • Don’t ignore the bullying thinking the children will sort it out.
  • Don’t try to immediately sort out the situation.
  • Don’t force any of the kids to tell you what they saw publicly.
  • Don’t question the children involved in front of other kids.
  • Don’t talk to the kids involved together, only separately.
  • Don’t make the kids involved apologize or fix relations on the spot.

What Is Assault?

We often hear the term assault and battery and assume they are interchangeable. In reality, these are two distinct and punishable events. An “assault” is legally defined as any attempt to injure someone else. In some cases, even threatening behavior can be construed as assault. One way to look at assault is as an “attempted battery.” That is, you do not necessarily have to make physical contact to be charged with assault.

Battery, on the other hand, requires physical, harmful contact. This contact must be intentional and without consent. In a typical “beat up at school” scenario, an aggressor may be charged with assault and battery. If a bully threatens to beat up another classmate but does not actually harm him or her physically, the aggressor may still be charged with assault.

Can I Charge a Bully With Assault?

If you press charges, you have the option of charging a bully with assault. If the offender is under the age of 17, he or she will usually be charged as a juvenile. Juvenile courts work differently than typical systems. In the eyes of the law, these offenders are not criminals—they are “delinquents.” In other words, juveniles are found in violation of civil law, not criminal. Simple assault charges may result in house arrest, community service, or simply ordering counseling with a probationary period.

The decision to press charges is a personal one. If your child was injured on school property, you have the option of letting the administration handle the situation. Does the school have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to bullying? If so, the offending party may be suspended or even expelled for the behavior. This sends a clear message that his or her assault was wrong and may prevent future occurrences.

On the other hand, some punishments may not adequately discourage future incidents. Detention may not be a fair punishment given the amount of physical and emotional pain a bully inflicts on a victim. If your school district’s policies are lax, assault charges may be the best course of action. Consult with an administrator before rushing into any decision.

Pursuing Personal Injury Claims

Depending on the extent of your child’s injuries, you may be struggling to pay for the subsequent medical bills. The emotional side effects also take their toll; you may even consider therapy to help your child through a traumatizing experience. All of these treatments cost money, and you rightfully feel that you should not have to pay the price for someone else’s actions. If your child’s bully has been charged with juvenile simple assault, the courts may order that the assailant pay restitution as part of his or her punishment. If not, you may receive compensation from the negligent party responsible for your child’s injuries through other channels.

In these types of situations, either the school district or the bully’s parents may be considered the guilty party. Each case is unique, so we suggest that you come in for a free case evaluation. We will listen to your story and advise you of the next best steps. We offer our services on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay if we win. To get started on your initial consultation today, contact us for more information.


DISCLAIMER: The content in this blog post (“post”) is meant for general informational purposes only. Publication of this post does not insure that Attorney Brian White & Associates offers representation for this type of case. Information found in the post does not constitute as formal legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.