Gone are the days when it was just sort of understood that bullies would patrol school playgrounds, bus stops and hallways looking to administer wedgies and swirlies.

A story published yesterday in USA Today notes that bullying litigation is on the rise across the nation as parents fight back against schools that are turning a blind eye to the abuse happening on their property.

Francisco Negron, general counsel for the National School Boards Association, readily acknowledged the trend. He stated in the USA Today article that while the association doesn’t know of any official studies on the topic, “anecdotal evidence shows an obvious increase.”

David Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center, also noted in the article that he’s seen a rise in lawsuits. Finkelhor attributes this recent uptick to a number of factors, including increased awareness, new standards and more experts in the legal community.

The schools, however, contend the lawsuits are damaging to the education system, especially given the dire financial situations afflicting many of the nation’s school districts.

For more details, read USA Today’s coverage