Gauthier v. Manchester School District, SAU #37Annotate this Case
While riding on a school bus, Morgan Graveline was involved in an altercation with a another student, A.M. A.M. punched Morgan in the face. The bus driver reported the incident three days later. 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. ten days after the incident whereby A.M. admitted to hitting Morgan. A.M. received a three-day suspension. Meanwhile, Morgan received threatening Facebook messages from another student, A.A., days before A.M.'s suspension. On the day Albert learned about the messages, he went to the cafeteria to ask 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, plaintiff Danielle (Graveline) Gauthier, in the emergency room and, for the first time, told her about the bus incident and the threatening Facebook messages. Plaintiff brought suit to recover for Morgan's injuries. The trial court granted Albert's motion for summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds. Plaintiff argued that Albert was negligent for failing to notify plaintiff on the alleged bullying. Finding no reversible error in the trial court's judgment, the Supreme Court affirmed.