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ERIC Number: EJ777122
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0036-6439
A Crack in the Educational Malpractice Wall
DeMitchell, Terri A.; DeMitchell, Todd A.
School Administrator, v64 n9 p34-36 Oct 2007
As a former school law attorney and a former superintendent, the authors were constantly concerned about potential liability when a student's constitutional rights may have been violated or when a student was physically injured. While educators can be held liable for infringing on students' rights and for negligence that causes students physical harm, educators do not have a legal responsibility to educate students. In other words, educators can be sued for providing inadequate supervision, but not for providing inadequate instruction. In the past, the lack of agreed-upon standards for teaching practice and public policy regarding financial responsibility formed the basis for the failure of lawsuits for educational malpractice. However, it has been 31 years since the landmark case "Peter W. v. San Francisco Unified School District" first grappled with the issue of educational malpractice. Since that time, research on teaching and learning has informed instructional practices and public policy has shifted to requiring accountability for public education. Federal legislation, notably No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and follow-on state legislation have created a high-stakes environment in which consequences are attached to student test scores. Accountability for educational outcomes has become the new public policy, leading to the possibility that the barriers to a lawsuit for educational malpractice now may be crumbling. In this article, the authors revisit a possible case for educational malpractice.
American Association of School Administrators. 801 North Quincy Street Suite 700, Arlington, VA 22203-1730. Tel: 703-528-0700; Fax: 703-841-1543; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Administrators
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A