FRANKFORT, Ky. – Representative Stan Lee, R-Lexington (45th District), is sponsoring a bill in the upcoming 2016 Session of the General Assembly that if passed would protect teachers in Kentucky’s 174 school districts from frivolous lawsuits involving their supervision, care, and discipline of students done in good faith.
“It seems more and more teachers and school administrators have been stripped of their ability to keep order within their classrooms and hallways, leading in some cases to rebellion and anarchy among students with discipline problems,” said Rep. Lee. “Compounding the problem is the constant threat of lawsuits, which has further destroyed the ability of teachers to maintain discipline in the classroom. It is my belief that has in turn led to a rise in the number of teachers and staff being threated or assaulted by students in both Kentucky and the nation.”
According to statistics provided by the Kentucky Department of Education, there were 1,977 reports incidents involving threats against local teachers and administrators. That number is an increase of nearly 400 reports compared to just two years ago, which 1,600 complaints were reported during the 2012-13 school year.
Nationally teachers have seen an increase in the number of threats and assaults at school. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, during the 2011-12 school year eight percent of all teachers reported being physically assaulted, which was higher than any other year. The same report found nine percent of all teachers in the U.S. had been verbally threatened, the highest number recorded since the 1993-94 school year. Rep. Lee says he filed the bill after a certified employee within the local school district, who told how she had been assaulted twice and now suffers from an ongoing concussion, contacted him urging the General Assembly to take some action.
“We have to allow teachers and staff the ability to defend themselves and bring order back to our schools. One way we can do that is let our educators take action that is appropriate without fear of reprisal in civil court,” added Rep. Lee. “My bill simply does one thing: it exempts teachers and administrators like principals from personal liability for damages done in the act of supervision, care, or discipline of students as long as it undertaken in good faith, involves the exercise of discretion and judgement, and is done within the scope of their employment or authority.”