Can I sue my 13 year old daughter’s school for allowing pornographic novels in the classroom?

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I sue my 13 year old daughter’s school for allowing pornographic novels in the classroom?

This teacher allows the students to borrow these books and they even pass them around to their friends. There is a whole series of them and it’s common knowledge to the students that these books are available to read anytime. My daughter brought one home and she is not even in the class ssince the teacher teaches a grade above her; she received it from another student. I have not taken any action but am appalled that my daughter has read material about subjects I was not ready for her to know about. Things in this book made me blush and I’m no prude. It’s my right to decide what she is exposed to and when.

Asked on June 10, 2011 under Personal Injury, Arkansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First, one issue is whether the bulk of people--the hypothetical "average" person--would be offended, or whether it's "only" offensive to you given your cultural or religous sensibilities? That is not to denigrate your values, if this were the case, or to imply they are not valid, but to note that the law does not protect *each* person's sensibilities; it generally only recognizes, in cases like this, what would be the average or general societal expectation. If these books would be acceptable to most parents, whether or not you agree with that, then there is nothing wrong in a legal sense.

Second, even if the novels are inappropriate, if the teacher is not him- or herself giving them out or distributing them to students, you probably can't sue him or her (or the school); you can't sue a person or institution over behavior or actions he, she, or it doesn't do. If it's simply student to student transfers (which, after all, could take place outside of school, too), the teacher and school are most likely not legally responsible--though it would be more appropriate for the teacher to at least *try* to discourage it (e.g. warn kids to not bring these books in; confiscate them if they are), and it would be a good idea for you to speak to teacher, and then, if necessary, the principal about the situation, and ask them to do what they can.

If, however, the books are clearly inappropriate and the teacher is him- or herself distributing them, recommending them, giving them out, then you may have a legal claim. If you believe this is the case, you'd be advised to consult with an attorney, who can evaluate all the circumstances and advise you as to your recourse.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption