Some Thoughts on Standard of Care for School Superintendents<br />David A. Stolier, Sr. Assistant Attorney General<br />
What do we mean by Standard of Care?<br />TORT<br />a private or civil wrong or injury, for which a court will provide a remedy in the form of an action for damages.<br />A violation of a duty imposed by general law or otherwise. There must always be a violation of some duty owed a plaintiff (victim or harmed person). <br />Most often that duty is one of reasonable care<br />
Tort <br />Duty [arises due to special relationship, statutory duty, or generalized duty of reasonable care]<br />Breach of the duty<br />Causation<br />Harm<br />
Duty of Reasonable Care<br />How do we know what it is?That degree of care which a person of ordinary prudence would exercise in the same or similar circumstances. Failure to exercise reasonable care, if such failure proximately causes harm to another, is called “negligence “ <br />Thus, the standard of care evolves with society’s understanding of how a reasonably prudent person would act.<br />Where a standard is prescribed by law, violation becomes per se breach of duty<br />
Evolution of Standard of Care -- Example<br />Corporal punishment<br />Sexual harassment<br />Treatment of youth head injuries—Zack Lystedt Law.<br />Bullying/harassment -- have a policy and place and follow it<br />
DUE PROCESS<br />No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property , without due process of law. --Washington Constitution article I, section 3. (U.S Constitution 14th Amendment)<br />What does this mean? What process is due? Due to whom?<br />
Due Process<br />Process: Minimum procedures to ensure action is not arbitrary or erroneous.<br />How much process is due? Due process is a flexible concept. How much process is due in a given situation requires balancing burdens of additional process on the government against the risk of erroneous deprivation of individual liberty, property.<br />Due to whom? Anyone who is going to deprived of a property or liberty interest by the gov’t<br />
You Are the Government<br />Minimum requirement of procedural due process is Notice and Meaningful Opportunity to be Heard<br />Substantive Due Process – freedom from arbitrary government action<br />These principles can serve you well in a variety of settings<br />
Other Thoughts on Risk Management <br />Policies – Double edged sword<br />Without one, may be taking arbitrary action<br />With one, will be charged with following it<br />Make complainants feel they are heard<br />OEO is not the enemy<br />Take your unprofessional conduct investigatory role seriously<br />Consult with legal counsel<br />Don’t be afraid to take reasonable risks<br />
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