Dr. Ella Benson
Education and the Law EDU 520 004016 200905
September 13, 2009
This article was written after taking a small scale study. During this study it raised questions, stimulated a discussion, and provided a hypothesis for further research. In Public Agenda it reviewed existing research that was compiled through public education. This research included teachers, parents, students, and most of all superintendents. The first observation was that teachers and principals were being sued or falsely accused of physical and sexual abuse on students. Most teachers and principals try to completely avoid touching students or even being alone with them to avoid any hazard. At the time of this interview no teacher had been sued for conduct on the job but some principals and superintendents had been named for doing such. In the Public Agenda it stated that seventy two percent of teachers agreed that “too many parents automatically favored the side of their child or children when there is a dispute involving the teacher.” The possibility of an accusation or lawsuit was a perpetual fear, one that seemed to reside just beneath the surface as they went about their daily routine. A comforting touch could be misinterpreted, especially among the middle school and high school teachers. As stated in this article trying to teach elementary level children is so disturbing because you cannot give them a simple hug anymore. As principals and superintendents lend to confirm the prevalence of a “do not touch” rule and most principals believe that it is too often to see them being vulnerable to false accusation or misunderstanding.
The second observation that was stated was that many principals and superintendent, try avoiding lawsuits and fulfilling regulatory and due process requirements is a time- consuming and often cause frustration on the job with special education, discipline and sexual harassment and staff issues seem to be the most problematic areas. It is the role of teachers, principals, and superintendents to establish policies and procedures that guarded against litigation. In Public Agenda’s 2001 a survey was done, during this survey fifty percent of superintendent said that in their district legal issues and litigation got more attention than they deserved, on the other hand forty three percent got the right amount. Special education is a top concern for principal and superintendent. In an upcoming study of superintendent and principal for example, will show that very large majorities believe special education law give parents a sense of entitlement and make them too quick to threaten legal action to get their way. According to Public Agenda sixteen percent of special education student parents have considered suing and thirty one percent among of the parents of these children has a severe disability. Sexual harassment has concerned teachers and students on behavior among the student themselves. Thirdly, another observation was made, according to many teachers and school leaders, litigation and due process requirement often given to unreasonable people a way “to get their way” even when their demands are unwarranted. Most school leaders appear to be divided over whether they should agree to an unjust settlement on goes through a court battle. Some trial attorneys involve themselves in lawsuits against major social institution. The fourth observation is litigation and the threat of litigation often takes a personal toll on professionals