Ohio Supreme Court to hear case over whether a teacher should be held liable for bullying

Ohio Supreme Court to hear case over whether a teacher should be held liable for bullying

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Ohio Supreme Court will hear a case over whether a kindergarten teacher was reckless in not stopping an injury to a student who previously said she was being bullied.

The decision for justices to hear A.J.R. v. Board of Education of Toledo City School District was announced at the end of November.

The case refers to an incident at a Toledo-area elementary school that involved a student who reportedly pierced a kindergarten girl’s cheek with a pencil.

Initially, the Lucas County Common Pleas Court dismissed the case, ruling that the teacher and principals were protected from a lawsuit.

But Ohio’s Sixth Appellate District overruled the decision, concluding that educators did not attempt to stop the bullying despite evidence of apparent verbal and physical abuse. The appeals court’s decision would hold teachers liable.

Ohio’s high court will now hear the latest appeal, which would essentially determine if educators or principals can be sued when a student is bullied while under their supervision.

According to documents filed with the Ohio Supreme Court by the Toledo Federation of Teachers Local 250:

“Ohio law recognizes that in a civil action brought against an employee of a political subdivision (which includes educators) to recover damages for injury allegedly caused by any act or omission in connection with a governmental or proprietary function, the employee is immune from liability unless, in relevant part, the employee’s acts or omissions are in a wanton or reckless manner.”

Attorneys argue that the kindergarten teacher was not acting with malice or recklessness because she did not know the situation would escalate.

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