This morning a news story interested me. It involved an Arizona teenager who sent letters to hundreds of public school areas around the state informing them of resources they can use to change their anti-bullying policies in order to combat homophobic behavior and the bullying. Not only was I impressed that a 15-year-old experienced all of this trouble, but he also stated in each letter he sent that if appropriate actions just weren’t taken to protect lgbt, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students, legal action would be taken to force necessary changes to each school’s anti-bullying policies. Regardless how you view the nation-wide politics of this situation, it is important to the look at the precedent that might be set if this child does indeed pursue legal action and win.
In order to make such a case in state court, the plaintiff must claim a infringement of personal injury law. It ought to be noted that just a couple years ago at civil rights attorney in los angeles the age of 13, this child took legal action against their own school region for failing to adequately protect him of endless anti-gay pestering. He won his case and the school region was forced to treat the issue and change their anti-bullying policies accordingly. He now leads a two-man organization, along with a business associate in Chi town, to treat issues of the bullying towards LGBT students in public places schools.
If he were to follow through on his planned actions, he would not be able to claim individual personal injury as he will not have been a student in the school region in question. Instead, he would either have to find students in each school region which have been victimized by anti-gay pestering or claim a class action personal injury lawsuit (which some municipal protection under the law plaintiffs have inked in the past) on behalf of those not happy to come forward.
Individual school areas around the country have already been held liable in similar personal injury legal cases. However, to my knowledge, there has yet to be a case regarding one plaintiff impacting change in the anti-bullying policies across an entire state. If this child were to file and win such a class action personal injury lawsuit, it could set a precedent of similar cases across the nation. However, many states formerly initiated addressing the issue of anti-gay the bullying in public places schools at the state legislature level. In fact, the Governor of Nj just signed a similar law in hope of both protecting students in public places schools and avoiding a lawsuit against Nj school areas or nys itself.
Although this might bring in national lawmakers, these kinds of legal cases will not be filed in federal court by Wa personal injury lawyers. This planned case, along with perhaps similar cases, will be struggled with at the state level. I, for one, will be keeping an eye fixed on more developing news regarding this story soon.