It’s not easy to sue a school district, but it can be done. If you believe your child’s rights were violated by their school, the first thing you should do is contact a lawyer who specializes in this area of law. Because there are strict limitations on the types of cases you can pursue against a school district, the best course of action for you to take might not be obvious. A lawyer will be able to help you understand what legal recourse might exist for your situation and advise on which options would work best for you based on your family and personal circumstances.
Public school districts generally cannot be sued because of the legal doctrine of “sovereign immunity.” This establishes that government agencies like school districts are immune from lawsuits. While most states have passed laws waiving school district immunity in some circumstances, these are limited exceptions to the rule that districts cannot be sued.
The laws regarding what types of cases can be pursued against school districts will vary among states. Some common reasons you may be able to sue a school district include:
- Wrongful expulsion or suspension
- Sexual misconduct
- Negligent supervision
- Premises liability
- Infliction of emotional distress
- Special education violations
It can also be challenging to sue a school district because you typically must exhaust your administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit. For example, if state law creates an administrative procedure for challenging an expulsion through the school district, you will likely have to pursue this route before you can file a legal complaint in court.
What kind of lawyer handles school issues?
The kind of lawyer you need to handle school issues will depend on the reason you are suing the school district. However, you should always involve an education law attorney with experience suing school districts in your case.
Given the complications involved in pursuing a lawsuit against a school district, it’s essential that you retain a lawyer who understands the limitations imposed by sovereign immunity in your state and knows the administrative avenues you need to exhaust before filing a lawsuit. In some situations, you may need to involve multiple attorneys in your case. For example, if you want to sue a school district after your child was injured at school, you should consider working with both an education attorney who is knowledgeable about personal injury claims.and a personal injury attorney in your case.
When dealing with school issues, the first step is to contact an education lawyer near you to discuss the situation. If the circumstances warrant bringing in attorneys with additional expertise, your education lawyer will be able to make recommendations and coordinate the assembly of an appropriate legal team.
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