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Can I sue my childs school for civil rights & emotional distress?

Morgan Hill, CA |

My daughter is in the 1st grade.She was molested by her father a San Jose police officer at the age of 1.She suffers with emotional issues.I told the school when she started kindergarten.This year she has missed a lot of school due to normal illness,as well as chronic bladder infections,crying saying she hates school.Some with Dr's notes/some days without.Also I gave the school her therapist contact information in case they need advice on any issues that may come up.
The school called CPS & told them they thought I was to blame for my daughters emotional problems causing her to act out at school..
CPS did a home visit & talked with me & checked the house & advised me to look into getting an even higher qualified therapist & support group for myself.& case closed.When I confronted the school they denied making the CPS report,but the worker told me the school called.
& Truancy letters,3 to date.I'm being told I can be fined & jailed for my daughter missing school.I called the district office requesting the school phycologist get involved & she has,as well a counselor that meets with Emily every Friday at the school.We have a new highly qualified therapist who has met with the school.& the next problem I just found out about Monday night..My daughter told me one of the kids at school hit her twice on her back & that it happens a lot & they call her names.She was crying & tried to tell the substitute teacher,but she was talking & didn't hear her.I called Tuesday am informing the school of what had happened & I was keeping her home,giving them time to tell her normal teacher & talk to her classmates without her there.The principle called the therapist leaving a message stating that "Emily was never hit by one of her classmates that her mother must have done it,it happened at home not school".
& with that information in mind I called the CPS worker for her input on the bullying problem & the school unwilling to help.She told me as well as our therapist to take her to the doctor to be check so there is a record.& CPS told me to call the district office if the school does nothing.(I did not tell the CPS worker what the principle had said to our therapist)I need to get legal help with this fight,it has become a roadblock for my child to learn & a painful reminder of what was done to her at the hand of her father.& how dare they point the finger at me,accusing me of harming my child.They are putting so much stress & emotional suffering on our family & it has to stop.

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Attorney answers 1


When deciding if you should sue someone there are two essential requirements. First, did the person who you think violated your rights have a duty to refrain from the activity that you think would form the basis of a suit or did they have a legal duty to do something and they did not do it. It is very difficult to determine the answer to that question based on the facts you list because it will depend on State law and possibly administrative law in your State and under Federal Law.

The second essential is where there compensable damages? Damages for which a Court can award you monetary awards or injunctive relief (order the other person to do something or stop doing something). If you have both of these elements you may sue.

However, lawsuits take a high degree of expertise and cost money. Many clients have come to me through the years and stated that the money did not matter to them, just the principal of the issue! When I tell them how much I and other lawyers charge by the hour it becomes obvious to them that the value of the lawsuit damages is very important.

You can seek out your lawyer referral service to seek counsel. There are agencies of the State and Federal Government you may want to contact. Talk to a lawyer before you decide to sue someone for expert legal advice!

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Good Luck!

Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author only and the fact that he has worked as an Assistant District Attorney; State Supreme Court Clerk; Special Assistant United States Attorney (Hawaii); Assistant Cornell University Counsel or Judge Advocate, United States Marine Corps should not be relied upon to assume that these statements reflect the policy of these organizations.

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