When a fight broke out in the cafeteria while I was on duty, my AP hinted the parents might sue. I was crushed! I’m not perfect, but I tried hard to protect both students. So I tried to see things from the other side; when could a parent sue? Why would they? This article by a personal injury attorney is very enlightening, as it describes teacher liability in terms of how parents can sue us. At the end, there are dozens of notes from parents about real cases and their chances at winning a suit.
Personally, I find education law fascinating. But there are times when I don’t need the precedents and verbiage—just tell me what I must do and what I can’t. That’s why I really like this simple .PDF. Without wasting words, it quickly sums up three legal duties of a teacher, when schools need to inform me of something, and five specific ways to avoid being sued. Given how often a parent would threaten to sue our school, I even shared this with my department chair.
At first, I thought managing liability was all about bullying or fights. Copyright law and intellectual property rights are becoming more important thanks the digital media and the ease in which copyrighted material can be traded and mixed. This five-part series of articles discusses the basics of fair use, freeware, and specific liability concerns. It really helped me know when to use internet resources and when not to.
Just hearing the word “tort” makes me want to tune out. Thankfully, this .PDF clearly explains legalize so I could understand it, such as when touching a student can become assault, when schools can search a student’s bag, and what a “negligent tort” actually is. But what I really love are the scenarios. This has three real-world scenarios that can easily happen in my classroom (and #1 did), with a clear explanation of liability and how to manage that.
Teaching in an urban high school, I saw my fair share of bullying. And these days, bullying is a hot button topic. But even a few years ago, I loved this article. While aimed at school administrators, who do you think will be tasked with implementing these suggestions? Besides, by knowing what the administrators should be doing, you could save yourself and the school a lot of trouble. Even better, there’s a short discussion on free speech concerns at the end.
My teacher education program barely touched on teacher liability. I was basically told not to hit kids, and that’s it. This video presentation was a great introduction to the basics of liability, including in loco parentis, torts, and foreseeability. I knew I was responsible for my students, but I didn’t know it was my job to foresee possible hazards to the students in the entire school.