During my years of work on school safety, many students have described to me their fear, anxiety and emotional trauma when targeted for bullying or harassment in school, or through texting, instant messaging or other forms of cyber communication.
Parents are understandably upset and heartbroken, and want immediate action to protect their child from further abuse. Unfortunately, at times, parents do not receive a satisfactory school response. Many parents are also uncertain about the school's legal responsibilities and practical options for stopping the abusive behavior and for making sure it does not reoccur.
I provide legal and practical guidance to parents of Massachusetts students. I negotiate with schools to design comprehensive written safety plans to help ensure students' emotional and physical safety. As needed, I will help parents pursue complaints in the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, or in court, including obtaining a bullying prevention order from a state court.
As reaffirmed in an letter to educators from the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education on October 26, 2010, schools may violate federal (and state) civil rights laws when they ignore, tolerate or fail to adequately address severe, persistent or pervasive forms of racial, ethnic, sexual, sexual orientation, or disability-based harassment. Additionally, Massachusetts new bullying law includes many requirements on schools for responding to bullying.
Parents turn to me for help because of my broad experience as a ciivil rights attorney and advocate with a long history of providing assistance and training to educators and law enforcement on school safety and student's rights under federal and state civil rights laws.
If your child feels unsafe, and you do not have confidence in the school's response, please contact me to schedule a consultation. I welcome the opportunity to advocate on your behalf to help make the school safe for your child to learn.