Sexual Assault in New Jersey Schools
October 23, 2018
BY: Domhnall O'Cathain
The national conversation on sexual assault in New Jersey schools recently focused on allegations and denials of assault involving high school teenagers at a house party back in the early 1980s.
While those allegations played out on the national stage, the New Jersey Appellate Court ruled in a case where a teenage girl alleged that she was assaulted after a boy invited her into the boy’s bathroom at a high school in New Jersey.
LE & PT v. Plainfield Schools (October 2018)
The girl sued the school and alleged that the school failed in its duty to supervise the students. She pointed out that there were no hall passes and that nobody noticed on the CCTV cameras that they were going into the bathrooms.
The school argued that it was immune and should not be sued.
The Court ruled that New Jersey schools have a duty to supervise students and must take reasonable steps to prevent sexual assault by students against other students. The Court knows that schools cannot be expected to prevent all harassment by other students, but the schools must take reasonable steps to prevent harassment.
Why do schools have that responsibility? Because children are required to go to school and must obey school rules. That means that the school has a duty to protect the students.
If the boy committed a crime, why is the school paying the price? The law recognizes that there are times when people or businesses can take reasonable steps to prevent a crime. For example, a bar cannot overserve alcohol to a customer who might get into a car and crash it while drunk. The bar will be responsible for the damage caused to an innocent person by the drunk driver. In the same way, a school must take reasonable steps to prevent a sexual assault crime.
Keeping Our Kids Safe
So, what can we do to keep our kids safe from sexual assault in New Jersey schools? What can we do to prevent a situation like this? We can start by talking to our kids about their choices. And we can talk to our schools about what they are doing to help our kids make the correct choices.
If you or your child was a victim of a sexual assault in school, you should seek immediate care. Thereafter, you should consider the legal options open to you and whether the school breached its duty to a student.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys
At Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC, our team of New Jersey personal injury attorneys are experienced, dedicated, and committed to helping those going through very difficult times. Contact us today at 201-488-1161 for a free legal consultation with our New Jersey personal injury attorneys. If we decide to pursue your case, we will commit ourselves to getting you justice through maximum financial compensation.