College Violence: Is the School Responsible for Wrongful Death?

To lose a loved one is devastating. If you lost a loved one or family member to violence on a college campus, you may be wondering what your options are. Could you file a wrongful death lawsuit against the university or college? While not typical, it is possible. Here is what you need to know about a college’s responsibility with regard to student safety.

Are College Students Vulnerable to Violence?

Students can be considered vulnerable to violence. At school, students gather in open places. They are at the liberty of the college’s safety measures. For instance, if a student is staying in a dorm and an attacker manages to enter after hours, this could be the fault of school security. Was the dorm entrance left unlocked? Were there no security guards present on campus?

What if a student is the victim of harassment and informs the school, but the school does not take proper measures to stop further violence or harassment? This could be the school ignoring the vulnerability of the student.

Do Colleges Have a Duty to Protect Students?

Some would say that violence is impossible to predict. Public colleges do not control a student’s behavior. If a student is more prone to violent acts or if a student has troubling thoughts that may lead to violence, it is not typical for said student to discuss these thoughts or to alert the school. Colleges cannot target students that they assume may commit violent acts. To do this could easily result in accusations of discrimination.

However, this does not mean that the college has no liability when it comes to student safety. The school has rules of conduct, it has to make moves to keep the campus safe. There are federal regulations when it comes to the responsibility of colleges and universities. Colleges have to publicize reports on campus crime, preventative education and security measures. Colleges must have notices for emergencies or missing students and must all notify on enrolled sex offenders. Schools do have to take steps toward student security.While colleges do have some duty to protect students, it depends heavily on the circumstance. If you lost a loved one or family member while he or she was at college, you could have a case against the school for wrongful death. To find out more about how to file a lawsuit, contact a wrongful death lawyer, like from Johnston Martineau, LLP, as soon as possible.