Argued April 22, 2015.
Hillsborough-northern judicial district.
Backus, Meyer & Branch, LLP, of Manchester ( B J Branch on the brief and orally), for the plaintiff.
McDonough, O'Shaughnessy, Whaland & Meagher PLLC, of Manchester ( Robert J. Meagher on the brief and orally), for the defendant.
HICKS, J. DALIANIS, C.J., and CONBOY, LYNN, and BASSETT, JJ., concurred.
The plaintiff, Danielle (Graveline) Gauthier, as mother and next friend of Morgan Graveline, appeals an order of the Superior Court ( Garfunkel, J.) granting summary judgment to the defendant, Manchester School District, SAU #37. We affirm.
The following facts are derived from the trial court's order. On February 4, 2011, Morgan was involved in an altercation with another student, A.M., on a school bus. During that altercation, A.M. punched Morgan in the face. The bus driver reported the incident to the defendant on February 7.
The school principal, Barry Albert, downloaded the bus driver's report on February 8 and met with Morgan the next day. Morgan minimized the incident, told Albert she did not know the name of the other student involved in the altercation, and asked Albert not to notify her mother. Although Albert informed Morgan that he would have to notify her mother, he did not do so.
Albert met with A.M. on February 14. A.M. admitted hitting Morgan and was given a three-day suspension.
Meanwhile, Morgan received threatening Facebook messages from another student, A.A., on February 13 and 14. Albert learned about the messages on the morning of February 15 and knew that A.A. and Morgan would both be in the cafeteria at lunch that day. Albert went to the cafeteria at that time and told A.A. to see him after lunch. After Albert left the cafeteria, a fight broke out. Morgan was hit several times, sustaining injuries to her head, face, and mouth. She was transported to the emergency room. Albert met with Morgan's mother, the plaintiff, in the emergency room and, for the first time, told her about the February 4 bus incident and the threatening Facebook messages.
At all relevant times, the defendant had in place a written anti-bullying policy implemented pursuant to RSA 193-F:4, II (Supp. 2014). That statute mandates the adoption, by each school district's school board, of a written policy prohibiting bullying and cyberbullying. The policy must contain, among other things, " [a] procedure for notification, within 48 hours of the incident report, to the parent or parents or guardian of a victim of bullying or cyberbullying and the parent or parents or guardian of the perpetrator of the bullying or cyberbullying." RSA 193-F:4, II (h). The defendant's ...