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Chapter 6. School Personnel and School District Liability. Liability. Liability involving school personnel normally falls into two categories: intentional torts and unintentional.

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chapter 6

Chapter 6

School Personnel and School District Liability

  • Liability involving school personnel normally falls into two categories: intentional torts and unintentional.
  • Intentional torts-such as assault, battery, libel, slander, defamation, false arrest, malicious prosecution, and invasion of privacy-require proof of intent or willfulness.
  • Unintentional torts-such as simple negligence-does not require such proof of intent or willfulness.
  • In either case, charges may be sustained if the school failed to act appropriately or improperly.
  • Forseeability, a crucial element in liability cases, is defined as the teacher’s or administrator’s ability to predict that a certain activity may prove harmful. For example, a school would be liable if broken glass panes exist in a doorway.
student safety
Student safety
  • Teachers have a legal duty to instruct students on the proper use of equipment and materials. Failure to do so makes the teacher liable. Examples include use of table saws, welding equipment, science equipment, and athletic equipment and techniques.
  • There is no clear cut line for procedures for before and after school supervision. Each district must evaluate their own situation and provide the supervision necessary. At the very least, students should be periodically monitored. If problem arise, then full time supervision would be required
  • A letter informing parents of before and after school monitoring policies should be sent home, signed by the legal guardian, and returned to the school.
general thoughts
General thoughts
  • School grounds should be accessible and considered safe for visitors.
  • Personal information regarding students must be kept confidential.
  • Schools should develop a culture and a set of values that place a high premium on respect of all individuals in the school community.
  • Items retrieved from students, if not illegal, should be returned to students or their parents in a reasonable time frame and not retained permanently by school personnel.
  • Well planned liability workshops should be offered periodically to ensure that school personnel are aware of the limits of liability.