Liability for Bad Teachers

By Charles K. Trainor

Teachers make the education system work. These highly trained professionals complete years of demanding academic and fieldwork requirements, often accumulating significant education-related debt. With so much invested, educators naturally want to shelter their careers. Therefore, it is understandable that their unions lobby for legislation designed to protect them.

Teachers have justifiable reason to seek refuge from prejudice, discrimination, false accusations, unfair work practices, and petty grievances. Everyday problems may arise when students are disappointed with their grades, parents are upset with homework requirements, administrators harbor a grudge, board members have a political agenda, or taxpayers are unhappy. But there are also historical events that make teacher protection essential.

During the 1950s, in the midst of the Cold War’s communist paranoia, teachers in Boston, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, New York City, and  Philadelphia were investigated for anti-American activities. In New York City alone, more than 1,100 teachers were investigated. Shockingly, 378 were dismissed, forced to resign, or pushed into retirement because of their alleged political views.

Clearly, legal protection is necessary. However, these regulations and laws can sometimes pervert justice, preventing districts from responding to criminal behaviors by imposing appropriate penalties within reasonable time frames. 

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