630-576-9696 Menu

No Fee Unless We Win!


English / Español

Nationwide / Available 24/7

Bullying Epidemic: A Growing Threat in Education and Online

Bullying is an epidemic taking over our education system. And continues to be a rising concern with the growth in social media. Now, more than ever, bullies have access to their victims in and outside of the classroom with the use of technology. What is occurring online is affecting what is happening in the classroom, potentially evolving into depression, increased school absence, lack of school engagement, and has even led some to take their own lives. 

In the state of Illinois, anti-bullying laws require all schools, both public and non-sectarian private, to provide a safe and stable learning environment for all students. In recent years, many states – including Illinois – have passed laws aimed to crack down on bullying, but enough is still not being done to protect our children. As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to keep your kids safe. Meyers & Flowers is prepared to stand by your side to bring a personal injury lawsuit against those liable. We believe in holding bullies and negligent schools accountable. If you or your child has suffered from acts of bullying, please reach out to our experienced personal injury attorneys to explore your legal options. 

Defining Bullying in Illinois 

As defined in Illinois’ anti-bullying statute, bullying means “any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communication made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:

  • Putting one in a situation that incites fear or harm to themselves or their belongings;
  • Causing physical or mental harm to one’s health;
  • Interfering with one’s academic performance; or
  • Interfering with one’s ability to take part in the activities, services or privileges provided by a school."

In simple terms, bullying is based on the real or perceived power imbalance that allows the bullying to control or harm others over and over again. “Bullying” is not an all-encompassing term for teasing or a conflict involving peers with equal power. Nor is it drama among friends. 

Young boy distressed and looking at his phone.

Privacy Invasion: The Dangers of Sharing Personal Information Online

This can be incited online or over the phone as well, known as “cyberbullying, which can often happen alongside face-to-face bullying. Cyberbullying means bullying with the use of digital technologies including the of sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else, including but not limited to the following: 

  • Sending intimidating or hurtful messages via text messages or Facetime; 
  • Spreading lies about or posting embarrassing photos or videos of someone on social media platforms, like as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or TikTok; 
  • Impersonating someone and sending inappropriate content on their behalf, also known as “catfishing”; and/or 
  • Sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. 

Implications of Bullying 

Many adults disregard bullying as a “natural” phase or “rite of passage” for adolescence. However, bullying can have life-long impacts – physical, mental, and emotional damage. The psychological harm from being bullied could turn into long-term mental health issues or suicidal thoughts or actions. 

Understanding Bullying Laws 

All fifty states now have anti-bullying laws that require schools to take appropriate action. Specifically, Illinois school districts have the obligation to protect our children from being physically or verbally abused or otherwise emotionally abused by other classmates or staff members. Illinois anti-bullying laws and regulations require schools to adopt prevention policies and respond to bullying behavior that takes place both within the classroom and after-hours, during extracurricular activities. Illinois school district policies must contain key procedural elements, including: 

  • Putting procedures in place to report and investigate instances of bullying, including designating at least one staff member to be responsible for receiving bullying reports and strategies for anonymous reporting; 
  • Implementing a plan of action for promptly informing parents and guardians of all students involved in an alleged incident of bullying; 
  • Communicating services available within the district and community to school bullying victims, like social worker services, counseling, school psychological services and other interventions; 
  • Disciplinary consequences and appropriate remedial actions for violations of the implemented policies; 
  • School districts must access the effectiveness of their anti-bullying procedures and re-evaluate every two years to make necessary revisions to better serve their students; and 
  • Developing and implementing school-based prevention programs, such as violence prevention, intervention, and education programs. 

Anyone can report incidents of bullying behavior to a school. The school is then obligated to take steps to investigate within ten days of the report. Once an inquiry into the mistreatment has been conducted the school must enforce their anti-bullying policies. 

Who Can Be Held Liable for Bullying?

School officials, such as principals and counselors, have a responsibility to maintain a safe atmosphere for their students. When cries for help are ignored, parties may be held liable including: 

  • The bullying student or staff member; 
  • If the bully is a minor, the child’s parents; and/or 
  • The school itself, including the staff and officials involved. 

We do not typically think that any third party could be responsible for bullying, but when a child’s school fails to adequately respond to bullying complaints and this led to further harm against the child, the school could be civilly liable. 

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Chicago’s Most Elite Private School 

Meyers & Flowers is currently representing a Chicago family accusing Latin School of Chicago, a prominent private college prep school, of failing to take corrective action against cruel forms of bullying, cyberbullying, hate speech and other harassment at the hands of both Latin teachers and students that caused a 15-year-old student to take his own life. Parents of the deceased 15-year-old say the Latin School ignored their son’s numerous cries for help, then later tried to hide the history of bullying after his death. 

CBS Chicago Story Coverage

Read the full article

Young boy wearing a baseball cap.

Holding School Districts Liable for Bullying Response

Sadly, the abusive conduct and deliberate inaction of Latin is not unique to the family. Through litigation, our team of experienced trial attorneys are determined to enforce the law, protect our nation’s children, and hold school districts accountable for failing to appropriately respond to bullying. Alongside some of the best experts in the country, we intend to stand up for students and education rights throughout the country. 

Schedule a Consultation with a Bullying Attorney

If you are worried about your safety or the wellbeing of another, you can seek help by calling a national helpline. Click here to find a local counselor or other mental health services. 

 An attorney can help you bring a civil lawsuit against a negligent school that will not properly respond to alleged bullying. Our team will fight for you to recover compensation and demand change. If your child is enduring bullying at the hands of fellow students or staff, please contact our experienced personal injury attorneys to explore your legal options today. 


Concerned young woman looking on her phone with other girls in the background.

© Meyers & Flowers Trial Attorneys. All Rights Reserved. Web Design & Internet Marketing by Studio III

Privacy Policy


Contact Us