Liability for Campus Violence on the Rise


March 10, 2011

Lately, the media has been saturated with tragic accounts of violence on school campuses, often involving an assault of a student by a classmate. Many schools have installed elaborate security measures, such as using metal detectors and individual wand devices, conducting individual searches of students and employing on-campus security personnel. While these measures to make schools safer are a good start, a recent jury’s $5 million verdict against a school in Virginia makes it clear that school officials cannot simply ignore obvious danger signs because they have employed such security measures.

The lawsuit involved a college in Virginia that had a history of on-campus violence and employed eight security guards and two armed officers. Nonetheless, the vice-principal of the school was informed of a potentially violent attack but did not take steps to prevent the attack, which resulted in a student suffering permanent injuries, including post-traumatic epilepsy, memory loss, personality change and a sleep disorder.

If your child is the victim of a violent attack at school by another student, Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, will work hard to obtain the compensation your child deserves. Our experienced Atlanta injury lawyers have been representing residents throughout all of Georgia who are injured by the wrongful conduct of another for over 27 years. Our Georgia personal injury lawyers are dedicated to providing exceptional legal representation as part of our goal of being the best personal injury law firm in Georgia.

In the Virginia school assault case, the dispute arose when one student became angry with another student because of postings on Facebook. The assault victim told the other student that it was a misunderstanding and indicated that he did not want to fight. A friend of the student who was attacked testified that she informed the vice-principal that a fight was going to occur later that day. The vice-principal admitted receiving the warning and writing down the names of the students but indicated that he lost the note and took no action to investigate or prevent the fight. Two school security guards also testified that the vice-principal admitted making a mistake and that he “screwed up” and “dropped the ball.” The school principal also testified that the friend of the injured student confronted the principal immediately after the attack and indicated that she had warned the vice-principal that “this was going to happen.”

What is particularly tragic about this case is that a young man’s life has been permanently altered by a tragic violent assault that could have been prevented with almost no effort. The school had a network of security people patrolling the campus, including eight civilian hall monitors and two armed and uniformed officers from the county sheriff’s office who communicated via walkie-talkies. The vice-principal could simply have used his walkie-talkie to put the security personnel on notice of a potential campus fight or to direct the security officers to investigate or question the student who threatened the attack. While Georgia law does not generally impose liability on others for the unforeseeable violent acts of third parties, this does not mean that a school official can bury his or her head in the sand or completely disregard a warning of an impending school fight or other campus assault. If a violent attack or school fight is foreseeable and a school official has been warned, or where there is a history of dangerous conduct, they have a responsibility to take reasonable care to protect the students in the school. The most advanced security measures do no good if they are not implemented. It is the reasonable use of effective security measures and not their mere presence that is expected and required.

If your child has been injured by another student in a school fight or campus attack, your child may be entitled to compensation for his or her injuries. A school should be a safe place where parents can trust that their children are reasonably safe. When school officials ignore obvious threats to a child’s safety, all of our children are put in potential danger. The Atlanta injury lawyers at Montlick and Associates work hard for our clients to get the best result possible as part of our goal to be the best personal injury law firm in Georgia. Our Atlanta personal injury lawyers will fight hard to protect your rights and for your best interests.

Our experienced Georgia injury lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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