Anti-bullying Lawyer Fights for Clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
Delaware County attorney aids victims of harassment in schools and other settings
Despite significant media attention involving the severe consequences associated with bullying, children throughout the country still face mistreatment in school hallways, locker rooms and other locations. At The Pagano Law Firm, LLC, Marlo Pagano-Kelleher is a Pennsylvania and New Jersey lawyer who is determined to give victims of institutional bullying the support they need to secure the legal resolution they deserve. From our office in Radnor, we provide knowledgeable guidance and strong advocacy so that the parties responsible for bullying can be held to account.
What qualifies as bullying?
At some point, every child is picked on by one of their peers, but not every example of nasty treatment qualifies as bullying. Key factors that can distinguish bullying are a power imbalance between the bully and their victim and a pattern of abusive conduct designed to create fear and emotional harm. Various types of bullying exist, such as:
- Physical — Punching, slapping, kicking and other uses of bodily force against a victim can lead to physical injuries as well as emotional distress.
- Verbal — Persistent jokes, teasing and threatening online messages can qualify as bullying under both Pennsylvania and New Jersey law.
- Social — There are situations where bullying does not involve direct conflict but unfounded rumors and other actions designed to turn others against the victim.
Why bullying happens
Experts say that many bullies pick on others because they themselves have been mistreated or have low self-esteem. Projecting dominance over someone they see as weaker might give a troubled youth a fleeting sense of satisfaction. However, if your child is facing threats and abuse, your job is not to figure out what is motivating the bully. By taking action through administrative and legal means, you can protect your son or daughter and raise awareness that might lead to the bully getting the help they need as well.
Effects of bullying
A wide range of negative consequences are associated with bullying, which is why you should not wait for the issue to go away on its own. Victims frequently suffer from anxiety and/or depression, sometimes to the point where they resist social interactions, even with friends and family. In many cases, it is difficult for young people to separate the mistreatment they’ve received from their daily school activities, potentially resulting in lower grades, learning difficulties and disciplinary problems. In the most serious cases, outcomes for bullying victims can include substance abuse, fighting and criminal activity.
Warning signs a child might be getting bullied
Just as there are many types of bullying, there are many potential warning signs that can indicate a problem. If your child has injuries that you cannot explain or their property has been broken for seemingly no reason, that might be cause for further investigation. Changes in behavior should also be monitored, such as a drop in grades, erratic sleep habits or a drastic shift in your son or daughter’s appetite. Checking your child’s social media accounts and emails could help you get the information you need. A lack of interest in social activities and lost friendships might also mean that it’s time to consult with a professional.
Who is typically at risk of being targeted by a bully?
Anyone can be bullied, even youths who are popular or physically imposing. However, certain factors make children more likely targets for bullies. Students with physical or mental disabilities are frequently tormented by their peers. Children who stand out due to their height, weight, sexual orientation, gender identity or their family’s economic status are also frequent victims.
Places where bullying frequently occurs
A child can be bullied anywhere, even when there is adult supervision. Threats, physical abuse and harassment commonly occur in school hallways, playgrounds, bathrooms and locker rooms. School buses and other locations where students gather before and after classes can also be dangerous areas. Along with school officials, coaches, scout leaders, adults in charge of religious youth groups and others with positions of authority over children should always be on the lookout for bullying and have measures in place to prevent misbehavior.
Contact a southeastern Pennsylvania anti-bullying attorney for a consultation
The Pagano Law Firm, LLC advocates for victims of bullying throughout Montgomery, Delaware, Chester and Philadelphia counties, as well as other Pennsylvania and New Jersey locations. Please call 484-318-2561 or contact us online to make an appointment. Our office is in Radnor.