Tort immunity in the United States with emphasis in educational settings

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

John H. Croghan - Committee Chair


Purpose. The purpose of this study was to bring together in one source the tort immunity laws that affect teachers and their supervisors. Prior works in this area focused upon broader non-educational areas of tort immunity.This work may be used by educators to become acquainted with individual state laws. However, this was not a definitive work on every state and such would be beyond the scope and topic of this study. Cases relevant to educators with the intention that local school districts provide more detailed guidelines, were presented.Procedure. The format and style were strictly patterned after other legal works on tort immunity. Computerized legal databases were used to expand the case law derived from relevant areas of the American Law Reporter. These data bases produced roughly half of the case and statute law necessary. Individual statutes for each state were then examined and pertinent cases reviewed.Some states lacked topic information except in the most vague and generalized legal reference. Telephone consultations were used and the Chief Attorney for each State Board of Education was contacted in these states.In an effort to generalize, the states were then divided into categories and subcategories. Lastly, each state was presented individually in a format similar to other tort immunity works. The final document presents a short history of statutory law, case law and a summary for each state.Findings. Three major approaches have evolved with the categories. These legal and policy based considerations present an extremely diverse and somewhat convoluted picture of state tort immunity laws.Conclusions. A national standardized tort immunity law is needed. A sample law is presented, similar to federal law, which should be considered in the resolution of this problem.Finally, various state laws continue to facilitate on the manner of immunity offered to their employees. Educators should be careful and informed of these laws and protect themselves by a knowledge of local tort law parameters.



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