If you asked most parents and educators what represents the most important education issue in the United States, you might be surprised to learn it is not the quality of education a student receives, or the education amenities provided by a school or school district.
It is all about student safety.
We live in an era where school violence dominates the front page news and nightly evening news broadcasts. School safety issues not only encompass violent acts such as bullying and mass shootings, but also less publicized incidents such as medication abuse.
There is no question that a safe and secure campus sets the tone for creating a fertile environment that encourages students to learn and develop life skills. However, the process and outcome for creating school discipline policies that ensure student safety have undergone intense judicial scrutiny.
This section of our legal website offers an overview of school safety law, with an emphasis placed on preventing and protecting students from school violence.
Students face many perils the minute they walk into a school. From food poisoning cases in the school cafeteria to gun violence perpetrated by outsiders, school safety law gives students a legal voice inside of a courtroom.
School liability involves mostly structural issues that produce unsafe conditions. Wet hallway floors that lead to slip and fall incidents represent a common school liability case. Also referred to as premise liability, the facet of law that deals with school liability has expanded over the past 20 years to include cases that litigate food poisoning and building security cases.
Students face myriad potential product safety issues every day. Think of the potential safety hazards presented by items used to carry out a science project. Recent school product safety lawsuits include claims that school lunch trays contain dangerous levels of BPAs in the lining.
Bullying has grabbed the legal spotlight in the media, and for good reason. Classic physical bullying remains a threat to student safety, but the legal focus is now more on the emotional damage caused by threats made online. Several cases of unreported bullying have prompted violent acts committed by the victims of bullying. Most courts have rule that intimidation and harassment significantly reduce a student’s right to learn and prosper within an education environment.
The dramatic increase in the prescription of powerful drugs to mitigate the symptoms of disorders such as ADHD has prompted lawmakers to pass legislation that protect students from drug abuse and misuse. State and municipal laws strictly mandate how and when school administrators are allowed to recommend medication prescriptions. Most schools have the legal right to require students to demonstrate proof of the immunizations recommended by the federal government.
Columbine forced radical changes in school safety law, with more of a legal emphasis placed on protecting students from the violence caused by mass campus shootings. Many public school districts have placed metal detectors at school entrances, without facing legal repercussions for invading student privacy. Virtually every public school district that operates within the United States has established some type of “No Tolerance” policy that forbids any type of weapon on school campuses.
School safety has become one of the most litigated education law cases in the United States. Our team of California education law experts will provide you with the legal guidance that determines whether you have a valid school safety case to litigate inside of a courtroom. Contact one of our licensed education attorneys today to schedule a free initial consultation.