Tort liability for school personnel
School personnel face the continual fear of litigation as they work each day in America's schools. Educators are especially vulnerable to suits involving tort liability issues. School employees have the responsibility to maintain the safety and welfare of their students. Even under the best circumstances, unfortunately, accidents involving students take place in schools. Consequently, school employees may be held liable for damages or injuries to students if they breach their duty of care to the student. A thorough knowledge of tort liability is essential for school personnel in helping school personnel avoid legal consequences. The purpose of this study was to examine how the courts have addressed issues related to tort liability for school personnel in the physical injury or death of students while at school or a school-related activity. School personnel must possesses knowledge of laws that affect their day-to-day activities in order to protect themselves and reduce the risk of liability. The goal of this research was to provide school personnel with information concerning the trends in cases centered upon tort liability for school personnel in an effort to improve knowledge and understanding. The West Law Digest System was used to obtain data and information on the topic of tort liability for school personnel. The study encompassed 110 cases involving tort liability for school personnel between the years of 1993-2008. Each case was analyzed according to the framework of Statsky and Wernert (1995). The analysis of the cases in the study indicated seven categories of tort liability issues that school personnel face when students are physically injured or die while at school or school-related activities. School personnel prevailed in 82 of the 110 cases involved in the study. The student was successful in 9 of the cases and the court decision was split in 19 of the court cases. As a result of these court decisions, the study determined 32 guiding principles for school personnel as they work with students on a daily basis.