How can I bring charges on a teen who assaulted my son?

Witnesses and probably even video show my son trying to go home while another boy threatened and attacked him. Wintness also noted my son told the teen he did not want to fight and walk away, and same witness heard

the attacker say he did not care and the attacker pursued my son to our home. Another witness saw the attacker punch and stab my son with a pen, although by God’s grace it did not penetrate. The attacker also blocked my son from getting inside, caused a bloody nose, facial contusion as stated by the ER and corneal abrasions. This teen attacked my son who chose not to harm him in return because he was raised, by God’s grace, not to be vicious. This child has threatened and tried to and now really harmed my son. We tried talking it out with school counselor months ago, but the violence has progressed so much that I am nervous what may happen next. I feel the attacker has gotten away with so much and has so much malice I am concerned for my son’s safety. How can I bring charges on the attacker if the police officer only filed a report but did not take the attacker into custody or seem to reprimand him at all. I feel that the attacker needs intervention to stop him fom getting worse and maybe, but God willing not, causing more harm then he already has? I feel since it was off school property maybe police can handle it and bring charges since it happened after the bus dropped them off and was gone. The police officer said it was the school’s jurisdiction and the vice principal thinks it may be the police’s and am waiting to hear back from

our property manager who is very helpful, and also the detective’s department to see what can be done. What advice do you have in how I can try to encourage intervention that is strong enough for this child to get the idea to never harm someone again, includong not to harm my son again and never harm again at all.

Asked on June 5, 2017 under Personal Injury, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you cannot force the authorities--police or school--to take action if they will not; at the end of the day, they--not victims or the parents of victims--decide whether and when to take action. But you don't need to stop at the first or even second refusal: go over the heads of the persons who said they can't or won't act. For the school, go the principal if you have not spoken to him/her yet; then to the superintendent; then to the school board. For the police, escalate to higher-level officers. Try contacting the prosecutor's office directly, too. You need to try to reach some person(s) who will take this seriously.
There are two things you can do under your own control: 
First, if the school has had prior warning that this boy is either a threat generally or to your son specifically, you can sue the school your son's injuries for their negligence, or carelessness, in not taking action in face of a known threat. The suit could be resolved by an agreement that they will separate the children, provide counseling or support, etc.
Or you could sue the attacker's family or legal guardian(s), who are liable for his intential assault. Again, a suit could include an agreement that the boy will stay away from your son.
The problem is, since--fortunately--your son does not appear to have suffered significant injury, there may be little monetary compensation you could get; your suit be a net monetary loss to you, done mostly to settle it with some favorable agreement or other disposition.
You can also, by the way, as you talk to the school and district, tell them in no uncertain terms that since they clearly now of the threat, if there is any further attack on or injury to your son, you will sue the school, the district, and the relevant adminstrators personally for his injuries: i.e. you can put them on notice that they will face liability for continued inaction.


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