ERIC Number: ED217570
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: N/A
Legal Liability of Individual School Board Members.
Leverett, E. Freeman
Federal court decisions and federal statutes have established a number of new rights for individuals in recent years, and the Supreme Court decided in 1975 that school board members have only limited immunity from liability for the possible denial of those rights by school board actions. These two developments have drastically increased the amount of litigation faced by board members. The federal doctrine of limited immunity states essentially that officials are not immune if they "knew or reasonably should have known" that their actions would deprive individuals of their rights or if the actions were malicious, though the degree of immunity guaranteed board members may be changed by the Supreme Court. To avoid liability in federal court actions and in state negligence and libel suits as well, boards should follow due process, move with caution in matters of censorship and maternity leave, seek advice of counsel in advance, state at the outset all the grounds relied on in dismissal cases, show evidence of good faith, decide early whether to demand a jury, and seek passage of laws authorizing liability insurance. This booklet also discusses jury trials, damage awards, and vicarious liability as they relate to board member liability. (Author/PGD)
Descriptors: Boards of Education, Civil Rights, Compliance (Legal), Court Litigation, Elementary Secondary Education, Federal Courts, Federal Legislation, Legal Responsibility, State Legislation
Council of School Attorneys, National School Boards Association, 1055 Thomas Jefferson Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20007 ($6.00).
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials; Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National School Boards Association, Washington, DC. Council of School Attorneys.