Kenney Shelton Liptak Nowak LLP
The Calumet Building
233 Franklin Street

Buffalo , New York, 14202
Phone: 716-853-3801
Fax: 716-853-0265

Bullying/Harassment at School

Representing Clients in New York & Nationwide

All children deal with the risk of harassment and bullying at school, but children with disabilities (children with other differences) often suffer much more severe teasing and harassment. Some children may have obvious physical limitations or disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, an orthopedic impairment, deafness and visual impairments, that draw the attention of bullies. Other children with less noticeable issues such as learning disabilities, autism and mental retardation, may be called “stupid” or “slow” by their classmates. While learning to deal with mean individuals and ridicule is part of growing up, harassment because of a disability is unfair and can be emotionally damaging.

School districts, based on a growing body of case law, have a significant legal obligation and responsibility to proactively ensure no harassment or bullying occurs based on disability (or other protected status such as race, ethnicity or sexual preference). Accordingly, schools must develop policies and procedures, and train and in-service staff, to create an atmosphere that does not permit such activity. Moreover, districts must promptly and effectively respond to complaints of harassment, as well as develop the ability to discern when such harassment is occurring and know how to intercede – even when there has been no complaint.

The special education and discrimination attorneys at Goldstein, Ackerhalt & Pletcher, LLP can help you keep in compliance with this growing area of the law. Whether it involves assistance in developing policies and procedures, training staff, legal advice and counseling in individual matters, or legal representation in responding to a complaint, our experienced attorneys can meet your needs. Please contact Goldstein, Ackerhalt & Pletcher, LLP to discuss any concerns.