Do you know what the legal definition of “deliberate indifference” is?
The conscious or reckless disregard for the consequences of one’s acts or omissions.
If you are a school leader, school board member or community leader, you might do a quick web search using the words below:
deliberate indifference lawsuit school 2010
Over 8,000 results came up from my search and many of the results were related to lawsuits being brought against schools and universities under violation of Title IX. I heard the term “deliberate indifference” over the weekend when one of the national news channels did a bullying feature on a school in Ohio that has had four students commit suicide. The attorney for two of the families involved stated that the school acted with deliberate indifference towards the students and their families.
How do you ensure your school or community or organization is not sued for deliberate indifference?
Schools leaders, school boards and teachers have an obligation to create a school environment that handles misconduct and educators must realize that consequences related to bullying and cyber bullying are changing very quickly. Bullies and their bullying methods are changing very quickly. Most school leaders have some familiarity with school yard bullying because they can see the bullying with their own eyes and believe they can stop simple bullying.
Cyber bullying is much different and unfortunately most school and community leaders are seemingly disconnected and in the dark when it comes to cyber bullying and the consequences of cyber bullying.
Dealing with deliberate indifference and dealing with cyber bullying requires different approaches including more effective cyber tools that connect all the dots:
- Support Teams
- Anonymous Reporting
- Legal Ready Documentation
- Compliance Ready Documentation
- And other new challenges that come along…
Does your paper reporting or phone call reporting or e-mail reporting system connect all of the dots in your school? Are you confident your school is not guilty of deliberate indifference?
It is time to deal with deliberate indifference…which will help us save lives too.