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How and where do i begin sueing a school district for calling cps in retailiation for making complaints about there conduct?

Utica, NY |

i recently made complaints to special education and a principle about my son not being taken care of and being neglegted while in there care and they in turn called cps and repeated the report i made on them to special ed...about a month later i called the principle at another school my one of my children attend and complained of inappropriate conversations with my 10 year old and it turned into an arguement on the phone and me telling her i was contacting a lawyer in wich she said then im calling cps and she did...this cant be legal practice for schools to call cps not when theres a problem but when they are exposed for being very unprofessional and abusing there position...please help im at my wits end.thank you for your time

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Attorney answers 2


Unfortunately, you are going to have a near-impossible time suing the district with your situation. The reason is not because you are imagining things or lying. Rather you face two enormous problems: a.) Child Protective Law in New York State is so broad that what the normal person considers an abuse of state power turns out to be legal b.) you are fighting a school district, and the district (and individuals involved) would almost certainly be protected by immunity law(s).

In your situation, the district and their employees would argue that Social Services Law §419 prevents them from any civil liability so long as their actions did not result from willful misconduct or gross negligence. Of course, you would argue there was misconduct. The problem is that how would you prove it? First, there are two separate schools (if I understood your question correctly). You better believe that even if your case did not get dismissed outright, the district would defend themselves saying that it is you who has a pattern of making false accusations. Second, calling in child abuse reports is mandatory for teachers and most school staff, and within the scope of their employment. Actually, if something happened to a child that a school employee knew about and did not call a report that school employee faces both civil and criminal liability (class A misdemeanor under §420 of the social services law). As a result, the school employees a strong incentive “rather be safe than sorry”

Regrettably, there are many people with similar stories. The State gives an unreasonable amount of influence to some of most irresponsible individuals in New York. And, let’s not avoid the obvious; more often than not it is the upper-middle class/just got out of college/white teacher/counselor/assistants making reports in a predominantly minority-dominated neighborhood. I don’t like it either, but unless you have clear proof of their intent to harass or intimidate you there is not much you can do through the courts at this time.

However, who said that all problems need to be resolved by the courts? Often organizing others who have faced similar situations and putting pressure on the school through the media etc. is even better than using the courts so long as it is done legally.

Remember: most staff (especially CPS) hate it if you give them a bad attitude. And, they hold all the cards.

Nicholas S. Dubrowsky, Esq.
153-01 Jamaica Ave. Suite 201
Jamaica, NY 11432

Please note: My answers are not offered as legal advice specific to your legal issue. Rather, I try to answer questions by explaining scenarios and possibilities in order to clarify how you chose to proceed on your case or legal matter. Nicholas S. Dubrowsky, Esq. 153-01 Jamaica Ave., Suite 201 Jamaica, NY 11432 516.670.7088


I agree that what you have is a political and personality issue, not a legal issue. It is not illegal in our society for people in positions of power to abuse their authority, as long as they do not injure or kill anyone in the process.

You should work your way up the chain, calling the principal's supervisor, his/her supervisor, etc., until you get to the top. If you are calm and rational, hopefully you will reach someone who is willing to help you along the way. If not, you should consider enrolling your child in a private school.

The opinions expressed in this answer are meant for educational and public service purposes. Requesting general information about the law on a public website should never be a substitute for a personal consultation with an attorney who can give specific legal advice tailored to the facts of an individual case. Please be aware that Robert Hogan is licensed only in Texas and New Mexico, and that any opinions given are not meant to apply outside of these states. No attorney-client relationship is intended by answering questions or emails.

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