What can I do if a neighborhood kid keeps commiting crimes and then blames it on my son?

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What can I do if a neighborhood kid keeps commiting crimes and then blames it on my son?

My son is getting pulled out of class by police or they show up at my door and it always ends up that this other kid is the one doing the crimes. I can only imagine what the school and my neighbors must think about us because of this. Do I have any civil or criminal options against this boy or his family. The latest issue was a vacant house got vandalized and this kid blamed my son. I was able to prove my son was out of town (holiday) with me at the time but police still harassed him at school because of this other kid. The other kid eventually confessed to the damage.

Asked on May 22, 2012 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Trying to sue a school district in Texas is like trying to buy gas for $2.00 a gallon--it just rarely happens because of immunity statutes.  However, you may want to involve some other administrative remedies.  School districts love to implement procedures and school codes... and then forget to read them.  One of the latest wave of "codes" has been in the form of anti-bullying statutues.  If your child is constantly being harrassed by the officers of the school because of the other child, then the child is essentially using the officers to bully your child for him.  Read your hand-book.  Read the school district's code and procedures.  If they offer a remedy, then invoke it.  Sometimes just a sit down with the princial helps resolve this issues.  If that doesn't resolve your situation, or the principal is uncooperative, follow the appeal processes.  Principals always want you to think that they have the final word, but they forget that the superindendent and then the school board are actually the higher authorities.... so appeal to the superindendent or the board.  Get on the agenda for the monthly board meeting and request their assistance-- and if necessary, invite the media.  Some schools are very proactive, but others sometimes need a little motivation to do the right thing.  From there, you may also want to consider filing a complait with the Texas Education Agency.  Another option is a restraining order.  This is somewhat extreme, but could be helpful in getting the other student to stay away from your son or making remarks about your son.  You can't usually sue the school district, but the kid and his parents don't have the same immunity and protection.  With regard to the police-- use a similar procedure with the police squad as you would for a principal-- talk to the police chief, then make a request to be heard by the city council. Even though you can't normally sue a school board or a city council, if they fail in their required duties, you may have some declaratory or mandamus relief, despite the general prohibition against suing governmental entities. 


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