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Cyberbullying and Litigation: Know the Steps to Filing a Case Against Your Child's Bully

By — Education.com Member Contribution
Updated on Mar 15, 2011

Cyberbullying involves mean or threatening messages or images sent across the internet or some other form of technology (e.g., cell phones, IM). Cyberbullies typically get away with crimes because they believe they aren't harming a victim physically, that online insults, "veiled" or otherwise, don't count as harassment. It couldn't be further from the truth. Victims of cyberbullying often struggle with significant worry and sadness, which sometimes requires support from a professional therapist to manage the these feelings. Indeed, publicity surrounding several recent tragic high profile cyberbullying cases has led to calls for changes in laws punishing cyberbullies

What can Parents do?

If a child is being cyberbullied, parents often struggle to stop the bullying and support their child. Parents need to know how to recognize a cyberbully, and if all other steps to curtail the cyberbully have failed, it is important for parents to understand their rights legally and know how to prosecute the cyberbully for violation of their child's rights.

Before pursuing the legal path, parents can help their child in a number of ways. They can help their child to disable their personal accounts, delete the cyberbully from their profiles, and start monitoring their internet and cell phone usage more closely. If these measures don't stop the cyberbullying, parents can seek the help of the school. In most cases of cyberbullying, schools are informed about cyberbullying, and they try and stop the harasser, although many schools are slow to take action.

P. Dennis Maloney of P.C lawyers, Anchorage, Alaska, specializes in bullying and litigation against school districts. He is considered one of the few experts on laws regarding bullying. He recently won a case against the Anchorage school district who did not protect a student who was bullied. The student was so distressed by the bullying that he attemtped suicide.

The Anchorage school district isn't the only school district to have lost a bullying lawsuit. Other districts have also failed to protect students. If "the victim continues to get harassed until he or she exhibits physical signs of depression and anxiety, there are several options and choices to legally file a case against the bully and his parents," states Maloney.

Prosecuting the Bully

Filing a Lawsuit

Parents have the option of filing a lawsuit. The lawsuit unfortunately requires extensive effort, time, and money. Not including, being able to find a lawyer who would charge less for a small case.

Lawsuits sue for:
  • Money - You can claim damages mental or physical and get therapy, medication, and severe distress reimbursed.
  • Injunction - An injunction is a restraining order against the bully by the bully victim.

Filing a Civil Suit

  • Filing a Civil Suit is easier on the pocket and produces faster results. The parents can sue for damages both physical and mental. In the case of cyberbullying, the parent must prove that the victim exhibits physical manifestations of the psychological pain.
  • With the civil suit, you may file for an injunction as well, keeping the bully away from your child.
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