ERIC Number: ED386829
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
"Let the Master Respond": Should Schools Be Strictly Liable When Employees Sexually Abuse Children?
Fossey, Richard; DeMitchell, Todd
Although sexual abuse against children is a problem in the public schools, school officials have generally not acted aggressively to stop it. This paper argues for a strict liability standard--the assessment of liability without fault--against a school district in cases of student sexual abuse by a school employee. Part 1 explores the principle of respondeat superior, whereby employers can be held liable for the tortious conduct of their employees, without regard to whether the employer engaged in any wrongful act. Recently, courts have imposed respondeat liability against law-enforcement agencies and health-care providers, but not school districts. Part 2 reviews the recent federal court cases that have discussed an educational institution's liability under Title IX of the Civil Rights Amendments of 1972 when an employee engages in sexual misconduct against a student. The review concludes that the stage is set for judicial imposition of vicarious liability against school districts whenever their employees sexually assault children. School districts would be wise to prepare for increased exposure to liability, chiefly by increasing their vigilance in protecting children from a school employee's sexual abuse. (Contains 76 endnotes.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 18-22, 1995).