646 666 9601 [email protected]

Can you be held liable if your child is a bully?

Is a parent legally liable if their child is a bully?

Bullying has become a troubling trend, prompting state legislatures to enact more stringent anti-bullying legislation, such as “Phoebe’s Law” in Massachusetts, named after a 15-year-old girl who committed herself after being tormented.

These legal developments may cause parents to question their legal duties for their children’s conduct, which is understandable.

The following is a quick overview on parents’ legal duties when it comes to bullying.
Consider state law.

Because states control both tort and criminal law, you must consult the laws of your own state to understand your legal responsibility surrounding your children’s conduct.

State laws vary widely, according to Love Our Children USA, but 47 states have some kind of parental responsibility statute.

In certain states, parents may be held liable for their children’s negligent or purposeful actions, as well as crimes.

In general, parents may be held liable for their “minor” children’s conduct — which varies by state — although culpability normally does not apply until the youngster is between the ages of eight and ten.

Some states restrict damages in civil claims against parents, while others do not. In instance, lawsuits have been filed against the parents of accused bullies under homeowner’s insurance policy for deliberate infliction of mental distress; negligent supervision is another potential cause of action.

However, depending on how far the bullying has progressed, parental guilt may extend beyond monetary damages and into criminal accountability. In California, for example, failing to “exercise reasonable care, supervision, protection, and control” over one’s children is a felony, with jail as one of the potential consequences. When their children commit felonies or other delinquent activities, parents throughout the nation may be held liable for paying juvenile court expenses and even conducting community service themselves.

Keeping Liability at Bay

The best method to prevent culpability for your child’s behaviour is to explain to them about the hazards of bullying and to make yourself accessible to them to address such concerns.