School Immunity from Lawsuits
I’m often contacted by people who want to discuss suing public schools or school districts. Usually, I end up discussing the various statutory protections that protect schools and school districts from being sued.
School districts are government bodies. As such, they benefit from a statute known as the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act. A tort is a civil wrong.
The Tort Claims Act begins by establishing that, except as otherwise provided in the Act, no local agency shall be liable for any damages on account of any injury to a person or property caused by any act of the local agency, an employee of the local agency, or any other person. In the subsequent section of the Act are listed the nine exceptions to local government immunity. They are as follows: vehicle liability; care, custody, or control of personal (non-real-estate) property; real property (real estate or land); trees, traffic controls, and street lighting; utility service facilities; dangerous conditions of streets; dangerous conditions of sidewalks; care, custody or control of animals; and sexual abuse.
For example, if a student were to be hurt due to tripping over an uneven or broken sidewalk, there could be a liability against the school district. Unfortunately, what parents usually want to discuss is bullying. It’s a matter of great frustration to me that schools’ “bullying policies” are in fact toothless “free employment acts” for bullies. Perhaps only legislation will change this reality.
If you would like a consultation on this or any legal matter, do not hesitate to contact Scaringi Law at 717-657-7770.