GOOD POLITICS, BAD LAW
Teacher Protection in Texas


SOURCE: http://gop.gov/item-news.asp?N=20010320190011

BRADY INTRODUCES BILL TO
PROTECT TEACHERS

WASHINGTON, Mar. 20 Washington, D.C. - - U.S. Representative Kevin Brady (R-Texas) today introduced H.R. 1103, designed to protect educators from frivolous lawsuits when teachers act responsibly to maintain discipline and order in the classroom. The bill is similar to the teacher liability bill Brady introduced in the last Congress that passed the House twice, including once by a vote of 300-126. Unfortunately, the legislation was not signed into law.

"Dedicated teachers trying to maintain a safe classroom shouldn't be afraid of bullies, with intimidating attorneys," said Brady. "When keeping order in the classroom the first call a teacher makes shouldn't be to her attorney, but to the student's parents."

The measure establishes a shield to protect teachers, principals, and other education professionals-including school districts-who take responsible action to maintain order, discipline and a positive education environment. The bill does not protect teachers when they engage in wanton and willful misconduct, criminal acts, violations of state and Federal civil rights laws, and inappropriate uses of drugs and alcohol. "My goal is to take the lawyers out of the classrooms, to protect educators from frivolous lawsuits so that we have safe schools," said Brady.

Co-sponsors of Rep. Brady's teacher liability bill include Charlie Stenholm (D-TX), Chris Cox (R-CA) and Bob Schaffer (R-CO).

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Jordan Riak's letter to the state legislature of Texas

March 2001

Dear Legislator,

Proof of the uselessness of Rep. Kevin Brady's bill to protect the teachers of Texas from "frivolous lawsuits" is that nobody has seen an actual example of such a lawsuit. Probably none exist. The educational establishment is, in fact, legally among the best protected of any profession. Teachers, once tenured, are virtually untouchable. Even ones who are incompetent, even dangerously unfit, usually keep their jobs for as long as they wish, no matter how many children they damage.

The claim that this bill will give teachers a freer hand to "maintain discipline" is a coy way of saying that teachers who don't know how to teach, but who do know how to paddle, will be able to abuse children with impunity. For obvious reasons the bill's promoters don't define their terms. They don't tell you that "discipline," in this context, is a euphemism for whacking students on their pelvic area with a piece of wood--a practice that has no place in education of the 21 century. Shocking photographic proof of the consequences of this practice can be seen on the Web at nospank.net/whacked3.htm

Rep. Brady's proposed legislation has only one motive: to pander to the least competent teachers and, by extension, to the least competent parents. That may be good politics, but it's bad law. Professional teachers neither need nor seek such extraordinary immunity. Speaking as a teacher, now retired, I regard such "protection" as an insult to the profession I hold dear.

Jordan Riak, Executive Director Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education P.O. Box 1033, Alamo, CA 94507-7033 Tel: (925) 831-1661

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