Paul D. Coverdell Teacher Protection Act of 2001

Rachel German
Ball State University
EDPS 685
November 19, 2012
 1929-2000
 Director
of United
States Peace Corp
• 1989-1991
 Senator
from Georgia
• 1993-2000
 No
Child Left Behind Act
 Protects against being sued for
professional malpractice
• When reasonable disciplinary measures used
• When trying to create appropriate educational
• When trying to maintain order
 Many
lawsuits annually
• 60% of principals threatened
 Constant
awareness of lawsuits
• 82% of teachers have changed way they work
• 77% of principals have changed way they work
• Not completely bad
 Act
provides some comfort and security
 Who
is covered?
• Teacher, principal, administrators
• Other educational professionals
 School psychologists
• Member of school board
• Other professional or nonprofessional
 Works in school
 Must maintain discipline/ensure safety
 Protected
• Act within scope of responsibilities
• Following law
• Trying to maintain classroom/school control
• If applicable, properly licensed
• Harm not criminal misconduct or disregard for
rights or safety of individual
• Harm not caused by vehicle
 Must
be upheld to receive NCLB money
 Punitive damages CANNOT be awarded
against teacher if qualifications met
• Economic loss
• Harm
• Noneconomic loss
 Not
historically applied to school
psychologists YET
 Has the potential to have HUGE
 Deal with difficult students
• Might need to use discipline to protect student,
others, and ourselves
Bottom line:
As long we use reasonable measures & appropriate
discipline, we are protected from lawsuit.
 High
school student’s neck sliced open
after being attacked with knife
 Sued superintendent for negligence
• Failed to supervise classmate adequately
• Failed to inform school personnel about
attacker’s psychiatric & criminal history
 Court
ruled with superintendent
• Covered by Coverdell Act
• Followed laws
 Middle
school student injured during
incidence at the school
• Teacher put hand on child’s chest
• Student had medical and psychological
treatment and physical therapy
 Court
ruled Coverdell Act applied in part
• Teacher right to use physical discipline
• Took it too far
• Had to pay $27,270
 Group
of students sued boarding school
• Claimed personal injuries as result of other
• School personnel present in several instances
 Court
ruled with school
• Did not find that there was intent
• Acting within scope of responsibility
 Mother
of student with disability sued
school personnel for placing child in
“quiet room”
• Not part of IEP
 Court
ruled with school
• Did not violate due process
• Reasonable effort to maintain educational
Bottom line:
As long we use reasonable measures & appropriate
discipline, we are protected from lawsuit.
and least restrictive environment
 Often negative media coverage
• Controversial
 Strict guidelines
• Agencies create guidelines and offer training
• Accreditation not required for schools
 Little
research on “prevalence,
appropriate applications or efficacy of
physical restraint…in school settings”
 Ryan, Peterson, Tetreault, &
 K-12
special public school
 Staff trained extensively
Hagen (2007)
• “De-escalation” training
• How to handle crisis situations
• Recognition of behaviors and development of
appropriate interventions
• Trained in proper use of physical restraints if
behavior does escalate
 Implemented
school-wide BIP
 Data
coded from 2 consecutive years:
before/after training and BIP
 Reduction of restraints by 17.6%
 School
psychologists & Coverdell Act
• Can help train school personnel to reduce use of
physical restraints
• Ensure personal training in restraint measures
• Implementation of school-wide BIP’s
 Why
 If
didn’t the turkey eat dessert?
April showers bring May flowers, what
do May flowers bring?
Ashford v. Edmond Public School Dist. 822 F. Supp. 2d 1189. (2011). Retrieved from WestlawNext
Dydell v. Taylor, 332 S. W. 3d 848. (2011). Retrieved from WestlawNext database.
Nkemakolam v. St. John’s Military School. 2012 WL 3583593. (2012). Retrieved from WestlawNext
Webb v. Clark County School Dist. 125 Nev. 611. (2009). Retrieved from WestlawNext database.
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (2000). Coverdell, Paul: Biographical
information. Retrieved from
DeGenova, J., Davis, L., Gaines, A., Green, P., Hazeltine, B., Jordan, J.W., … Young, P. (2011). Has the
threat of lawsuits changed our schools? Education World. Retrieved from
Jacob, S., Decker, D., & Hartshorne, T.S. (2010). Ethics and Law for School Psychologists (6th ed.)
Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.
Rozalski, M. E., Yell, M. L., & Boreson, L. A. (2006). Using seclusion timeout and physical restraint: An
analysis of state policy, research, and the law. Journal of Special Education Leadership, 19(2). Retrieved
Ryan, J. B., & Peterson, R. L. (2004). Physical restrain in school. Behavioral Disorders, 29(2). Retrieved
Ryan, J. B., Peterson, R., Tetreault, G., & Hagen, E.V. (2007). Reducing seclusion timeout and restraint
procedures with at-risk youth. Journal of At-Risk Issues, 13(1). Retrieved from
U.S. Department of Education (2004). Subpart 5: Teacher liability protection. Retrieved from

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