?There have been events that incriminate public school teachers and other employees for having improper sexual influence and connection with their students have occurred across the country. Having students fall victim to sexual predators within a safe establishment during school, school outing, or even when participating in after school activities is unacceptable and causes potential for liability charges.
In student injury cases such as Hansen vs. Board of Education, the court observed a pattern with careless hiring, neglectful supervision, and unconcerned retention. It is important to cautiously screen all candidates, conduct suitable evaluations, and to create an environment that allows teachers to have witnesses. This environment will provide adequate monitoring and a comfortable environment for staff and students. In Kelly G.
v Board of Education of the City of Yonkers, a student and her guardians filed a lawsuit to retrieve damages for what they described as negligence and sexual harassment by a school music teacher. The plaintiff stated that the music teacher made vulgar and improper sexual statements towards her as well as inappropriately touched her in sexual way. When this trial came to court, it was dismissed, the complaint granting judgment to the defendants. The plaintiffs requested another trial that would focus on the negligence of proper supervision of students.
The Supreme Court of New York Appellate Division Rational Decision stated that the governing council for schools could not be held accountable for the teachers’ actions, but it can be held accountable for careless hiring, neglectful supervision, and unconcerned retention. Various court decisions state that a “necessary element of such causes of action is that the employer knew or should of known of the employee’s propensity for conduct which caused the injury.
” Also, the court stated that, “a school owes a duty to adequately supervise the students in its care, and may be held liable for foreseen injuries proximately related to the absence of adequate supervision. ” To tell whether or not the schools supervision of the students was breached it must be compared to that of a parent placed in the same circumstance with the same knowledge as the administration. The plaintiff also referenced in whether or not the governing council for schools should have known that the teacher was going to have improper influence or connection with students.
The plaintiff had supporting evidence that this teacher already was disciplined at a previous school for comparable complaints by another female student. The Board of Education stated that he had committed “unacceptable and inappropriate conduct,” and received a suspension without pay for one school year. The trial court made a mistake in dismissing of the plaintiffs’ claims. The court’s decision was based on evaluating unethical behaviors between staff and student.
NY school policies now include background checks, staff is expected to carry on appropriate job related connections with students, all alleged relationships/conduct will be investigated immediately, staff will instantaneously be suspended from employment during the investigation, staff found guilty will be discharged from employment within the school, and law enforcement, social services, and child services will be notified. Kelly G. , et al. v. Board of Education of Yonkers City, 952 N. Y. S. 2d 229 (A. D. 2Dept. 2012) Hansen v. Board of Education, 551 F. 3d 599 (7th Cir. 2008).