In a 2011 student survey released by the Centers for Disease Control, one-fifth of all respondents reported that they had been bullied on school property. Bullying undermines a school’s ability to provide a safe, effective learning environment, and incidents of bullying tend to increase school truancy rates, intensify levels and incidents of school violence, and result in more depression, anxiety, and drug and alcohol abuse among students.
Colorado’s anti-bullying law
In 2011, Colorado’s state legislature passed an anti-bullying law. This law defines bullying as verbal, written or electronically transmitted expressions, physical acts and signs that are intended to intimidate or cause physical or psychological harm to a student.
Colorado’s anti-bullying law requires schools to:
Follow up on bullying complaints by punishing bullies or through other means
Report acts of bullying
Provide details of actions taken by school administrators to address complaints of bullying
Institute proper procedures for reporting bullying activity
Establishing a liability claim for bullying
If a school does not uphold its obligations under the anti-bullying law and fails to exercise reasonable care in protecting its students from physical and emotional harm, parents and students may be able to collect damages based on the harm suffered. Damages may include compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills and therapy, in addition to punitive damages if the incident involved intentional or reckless misconduct by the school.