Legal Responsibilities

Legal Responsibilities

 Teacher candidates are afforded the same liability protection by the Board of Education of a public school district as a regularly employed teaching staff member 18A:16-6.  Indemnity of officers and employees against civil actions

Whenever any civil action has been or shall be brought against any person holding any office, position or employment under the jurisdiction of any board of education, including any student teacher or person assigned to other professional pre-teaching field experience, for any act or omission arising out of and in the course of the performance of the duties of such office, position, employment or student teaching or other assignment to professional field  experience, the board shall defray all costs of defending such action, including reasonable counsel fees and expenses, together with costs of appeal, if any, and shall save harmless and protect such person from any financial loss  resulting therefrom;  and said board may arrange for and maintain appropriate  insurance to cover all such damages, losses and expenses.

 18A:25-2. Authority over pupils

Classroom teachers or others in authority have authority of students.

A teacher or other person in authority over such pupil shall hold every pupil accountable for disorderly conduct in school and during recess and on the playgrounds of the school and on the way to and from school.

18A:37-1.  Submission of pupils to authority

Students must obey school rules.

Pupils in the public schools shall comply with the rules established in pursuance of law for the government of such schools, pursue the prescribed course of study and submit to the authority of the teachers and others in authority over them.

18A:6-1.  Corporal punishment of pupils

The use of corporal punishment upon students is strictly prohibited.  All abuse of students is illegal, even if a parent or a superior gives you permission to abuse a student.  Corporal punishment has been defined as a teacher's use of force and fear in dealing with students and unnecessary and inappropriate physical contact.

No person employed or engaged in a school or educational institution, whether public or private, shall inflict or cause to be inflicted corporal punishment upon a pupil attending such school or institution; but any such person may, within the scope of his employment, use and apply such amounts of force as is reasonable and necessary:

(1)   to quell a disturbance, threatening physical injury to others;

(2)   to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects upon the person or within the control of a pupil;

(3)    for the purpose of self-defense; and

(4)    for the protection of persons or property;

and such acts, or any of them, shall not be construed to constitute corporal punishment within the meaning and intendment of this section. Every resolution, bylaw, rule, ordinance, or other act or authority permitting or authorizing corporal punishment to be inflicted upon a pupil attending a school or educational institution shall be void.

18A:36-3(c).  Display of and salute to flag; pledge of allegiance

All students must rise for the pledge of allegiance. Only those students who object for reasons of nationalism or religion will not be made to recite the allegiance.

Require the pupils in each school in the district on every school day to salute the United States flag and repeat the following pledge of allegiance to the flag:   "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible,  with liberty and justice for all,"  which salute and pledge of allegiance shall  be rendered with the right hand over the heart, except that pupils who have  conscientious scruples against such pledge or salute, or are children of  accredited representatives of foreign governments to whom the United States  government extends diplomatic immunity, shall not be required to render such  salute and pledge but shall be required to show full respect to the flag while  the pledge is being given merely by standing at attention, the boys removing  the headdress.

18A:36-4. Period of silence

There is no morning prayer in schools but a moment of silence is permitted.

Principals and teachers in each public elementary and secondary school of each school district in this State shall permit students to observe a 1 minute period of silence to be used solely at the discretion of the individual student, before the opening exercises of each school day for quiet and private contemplation or introspection.

18A:36-14. Religious holidays; absence of pupils on; effect

No student can be penalized for missing an assignment or missing a school day for religious holiday observance.

No pupil of any public school, who shall be absent, by reason of observance  of a religious holiday, from such school at any time when the same is in session, shall by reason of such absence be deprived of any award or of eligibility or opportunity to compete for any award, or of the right to take an  alternate test or examination, for any which he missed by reason of such absence, if a written excuse signed by a parent of, or person standing in loco parentis to, the pupil be presented to the proper school authority.

18A:36-15. Absence because of religious holidays as excused absence

Any absence because of religious holidays shall be recorded as excused absence on the pupil's attendance record or on that of any group or class of which he is a member, and any transcript or application or employment form or any similar form on which information concerning a pupil's attendance record is requested shall show, with respect to absences, only absences other than absences excused because of religious holidays.