Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Court Rules Religious School Can Be Sued for Child’s Bullying
Key point 10-11. A church may be legally responsible on the basis of negligent supervision for injuries resulting from a failure to exercise adequate supervision of its programs and activities.

A Connecticut court ruled that a church school could be sued by the parents of a minor student who has been a victim of bullying by an older student. A minor student at a church-operated school was injured when he was assaulted by another student at school. The victim's parent sued the school and diocese, claiming that the assault was caused by the negligence of the school in the following ways:

(1) it knew, or in exercise of due care should have known, that the assailant posed a risk to other students but failed to remedy the situation;
(2) it knew, or should have known, that the assailant had a history of threats and violence and posed a danger to others in the school, yet failed to exercise reasonable caution and take appropriate measures to prevent the assailant from acting violently;
(3) it failed to enforce its student behavior and disciplinary measures and rules in its student handbook, in one or more of the following respects:
• it failed to implement its policy of requiring the assailant to use appropriate language and actions toward the victim in violation of the rules set forth on page three of the Parent/Student Handbook;
• it failed to make the assailant serve detention in violation of the rules set forth on page three of the Parent/Student Handbook after the victim notified his teachers and the school principal that the assailant had bullied him and engaged in disruptive behavior;

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