LEAs warned over legal action on school bullying

6 Jan 00
Local education authorities that refuse to take bullying seriously could face increasing legal action from the victims, a leading teaching union has warned.

07 January 2000

Publishing guidelines on anti-bullying polices to protect both pupils and teachers, the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) said employers had a duty under the 1974 Heath and Safety at Work Act to ensure the health and safety of all those using their premises.

David Hart, the NAHT's chief executive, said: 'The vast majority of schools have effective anti-bullying policies. But we live in an increasingly litigious society. There have been a number of high-profile cases that have seriously affected the reputation of individual schools. I do not think there are many head teachers who are guilty of bullying, but they have a responsibility to ensure that it is stamped out.'

Bill Walker from Zurich Municipal said that despite the introduction of fair funding, which allowed schools the option to arrange their own insurance, the liability for any claims still rests with the individual LEA. He added: 'Each case has to be dealt with on an individual basis, and there should be no blanket assumption of guilt on the part of the LEA.'


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