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One Pushing Incident May Not Create A History of Bullying or Aggressiveness

In the case of A.J.R. v. Lute, Slip Opinion No. 2020-Ohio-5168, the Ohio Supreme Court held that a teacher and school officials did not act recklessly in regard to reports that a kindergartener was being bullied because the teacher and school officials did not act in perverse disregard of a known risk.

In this case, the Ohio Supreme Court determined that the family failed to present any evidence of a known risk that the alleged student bully might cause physical harm to the alleged student victim. In doing so, the Ohio Supreme Court noted that a general assertion that the alleged student bully pushed the alleged student victim while they were in line is insufficient to establish that the alleged bully had a history or record of physical bullying or aggressiveness. Even assuming that there was a known risk, the Ohio Supreme Court went on to determine that teacher and school officials did not perversely disregard that risk based upon the undisputed material facts.

Note that the outcome of this case may have been different had there actually been a history or record of physical bullying or aggressiveness. Likewise, the outcome of this case may have been different had the teacher and school officials not responded to the allegations as set forth in the case.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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