In the case of Doe v. Nelsonville-York Sch. Dist. Bd. Of Educ., S.D. Ohio No. 2:20-cv-4467 (May 16, 2022), a federal district court found that two disabled students could not bring claims against the school district for failing to protect the disabled students from bullying when the disabled students did not provide any evidence to support the disabled students’ claims.
In this case, the disabled students argued that the school district (1) violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Section 504”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) by failing to respond to the disabled student’s complaints of bullying,;(2) created a custom of acquiescence to or tolerance of peer-on-peer harassment towards students with disabilities in violation of 42 U.S.C. 1983; and (3) acted negligently in failing to respond to the disabled student’s complaints of bullying. In response, the school district argued that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that (1) the disabled students were harassed because of their disabilities and (2) that the school district was deliberately indifferent to the harassment. The district court agreed with the school district.
In support of the school district on the Section 504 and ADA claims, the district court explained that neither student provided admissible evidence that the disabled students were bullied because of their disabilities and neither student provided evidence that the school district failed to respond appropriately to their bullying complaints.
In support of the school district on the 1983 claim, the district court explained failed to establish a custom or policy of inaction towards bullying based on disabilities because none of the disabled students’ evidence was related to children with disabilities.
In support of the school district on the negligence claim, the district court explained that the disabled students failed to provide sufficient evidence that the school was deliberately indifferent to the disabled students.
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.