|Scenerio 1 - In such situations, the teacher should fill out a complete report on the
matter (see table 2). The report should include information regarding
precipating student behavior, actions taken by the teacher, and results of the
intervention or action. If a witness was present that person should sign the report.
Liability claims are usually only successful in cases of extreme or eggregious actions by
a teacher that results in an injury to a student.
Scenerio 2 - A very similar situation
occurred in Wallace v. Batavia (1995). In this case the school boards an an individual
teacher were sued by the parent of a student who had been involved in a fight. The teacher
had to take one of the students by the wrist and escort her out of the classroom. The
parents sued under a federal statute rather than a state tort law, nevertheless, the
case sheds light on what courts would do in a similar situations in which a state tort law
was used. The court recognized that immediate, effective action was sometimes need to deal
with disruptive behavior. Furthermore, the court held that in seeking to maintain order
and discipline, a teacher is only constrained by the need to take reasonable actions to
achieve those goals. Depending on the circumstances, the court found, such reasonable
action may certainly include the physical seizure of a student in the face of provocative
or disruptive behavior.
Scenerio 3 - This scenerio presents a situation very similar to those in Ferraro v.
Board and Cohen v. School District. When a student with a history of violent behavior is
placed in a situation in which other students may be put at risk, appropriate preventive
actions must be taken. If they are not, and a student is injured, a lawsuit and liability
are a real possibility. The IEP team is the proper forum in which to address such
situations. Additionally, all personnel involved with the student should be informed of
any hazardous situations. To assert that confidentiality requirements does not allow a
person working with students to be informed about their behavioral history is incorrect.
Scenerio 4 - In this situation, a reasonable person might have predicted that leaving
students with behavioral problems unattended for a length of time may result in problems.
A lawsuit and liability would be a definite possibility in this scenerio. Whether
liability would be found by a court, however, would depend on variables such as the length
of time the class was left unattended, the history of the students, and what a
"reasonable" person would have done in a similar situation.