When most people think of assault, they think of violence in the streets or domestic disputes. However, assault can also occur in schools. Every year, thousands of children are victims of school bullying. But can the bully be charged with assault? Let’s take a look at the definition of assault and how it applies to school bullying.

What is Assault and Battery?

Assault and battery is a legal term that refers to a physical attack on another person. Assault is the attempt to cause bodily harm, while the battery is the actual infliction of harm. Assault and battery can be committed with or without a weapon, and the amount of force used is not relevant to the charge. In order to be found guilty of assault and battery, the attacker must have had the intention to harm the victim. This can be difficult to prove, which is why many assault and battery cases are plea-bargained down to a lesser charge. Assault and battery are serious crimes, and those convicted can face significant fines and jail time. Assault and battery are also often charged as a hate crime if the victim is targeted because of their race, religion, or sexual orientation.

How Does This Apply to School Bullying?

School bullying often meets the definition of assault. For example, a bully may make threats of violence against a victim. Even if the bully does not follow through on those threats, the intent was there and the victim feared for their safety. In some cases, bullies will actually carry out acts of violence against their victims. This could be anything from hitting or kicking to using a weapon. 

Can School Bullies Be Charged With Assault? 

The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the severity of the act, the age of the perpetrator, and whether or not there is evidence to support the claim. In many cases, school bullies will not be charged with assault because the act did not result in serious injury and there is no concrete evidence that an assault took place. However, in some cases where the bully has used a weapon or caused serious injury, they may be charged with aggravated assault which is a more serious offense. 

Other Laws that Address Bullying

Although bullying has always been a problem in schools, recent years have seen an increase in awareness of the issue. As a result, many states have enacted laws designed to address school bullying. These laws typically fall into one of three categories: antibullying policies, safe school climate laws, and hate crime statutes. Antibullying policies are the most common type of law, and they generally prohibit bullying based on certain protected characteristics. Safe school climate laws focus on creating a positive school environment by providing training for staff and students, establishing reporting procedures, and conducting investigations. Hate crime statutes allow for enhanced penalties for crimes that are motivated by bias. Although each type of law has its own strengths and weaknesses, all three can play a role in addressing the problem of school bullying.

Can School Districts be Found Liable for Damages Suffered from School Bullying?

School bullying has been in the national spotlight in recent years, as victims have come forward to share their stories of being harassed, intimidated, and even physically assaulted by their peers. While some schools have taken steps to address the problem, many students continue to suffer at the hands of bullies. In some cases, the victim may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against the school district, alleging that the district failed to protect them from harm. When determining whether or not the district can be held liable for damages suffered by a victim of school bullying, courts will consider a number of factors, including whether the district was aware of the bullying and whether it took reasonable steps to prevent or stop it. In many cases, the court will also look at whether the district adequately trained its staff on how to identify and respond to bullying. If the court finds that the school district was negligent in its handling of the situation, it may order the district to pay damages to the victim. However, if the court finds that the school district took reasonable steps to prevent or stop the bullying, it is unlikely that the district will be held liable for damages. 


School bullying is a serious problem that can have lasting effects on victims. In some cases, school bullies may be charged with assault if their actions meet the legal definition of assault. However, it is important to note that many bullies will not be charged because their actions did not result in serious injury or there is no concrete evidence that an assault took place. School administrators should be aware of this when addressing incidents of bullying in their schools.