Copyright 2016-2017, Supporting Champions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All Trademarks, Copyrights and Intellectual Properties used within this website are provided by written license from the owners of each property to Supporting Champions, Inc.
For those educators who are motivated by fear, here are a few legal excerpts from: “Teacher Liability for Student Injury and Misconduct.” --Mitchell L. Yell, Ph.D., University of South Carolina One of educator’s most important obligations is to provide a reasonable standard of care for all students (Mawdsley, 1993). School districts should take actions to make certain that administrators, special and general education teachers, and other personnel are aware of their care and supervisory duties under the law (Daggett, 1995; Freedman, 1995; Mawdsley, 1993).Teachers and other school officials may be held liable for student injuries that occur because of their actions or negligence, but this liability also applies to all other citizens and professions (Fisher, et. al, 1995).Because educators work with children, however, they are in positions where situations that may lead to liability lawsuits are more likely to occur. This is especially true of special educators who work with students, who because of their disabilities, have a greater likelihood of not recognizing danger and dangerous situations and thus being injured or injuring others (Foster v. Houston General, 1981; Mawdsley, 1993).In fact, schools, school officials, and teachers may have a heightened standard of care for students with disabilities, especially those with cognitive and behavioral disabilities (Mawdsley, 1993). Special educators should not worry needlessly about liability; however, they need to recognize the heightened standard of care the profession brings. School districts should develop, in writing, policies regarding standards of care and supervision. The IEP team should address potential safety risks and plan for them when appropriate. The IEP should include actions that will be taken to minimize these risks. If a precaution is listed in the IEP, it is convincing evidence that a school district has taken precautions to prevent student injury. If, on the other hand, procedures listed in the IEP are not followed and an injury results, the school’s negligence can more easily be proven (Daggett, 1995). In addition to members of the IEP team, general education teachers and other personnel (e.g., paraprofessionals) involved with a student should be aware of any safety issues, potential problems, or required supervisory issues.