DGC(LEGAL) - EMPLOYEE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES: IMMUNITY
Immunity from Individual Liability
The statutory immunity detailed below is in addition to and does not preempt the common law doctrine of official and governmental immunity. Education Code 22.051(b)
A professional employee of a district is not personally liable for any act that is incident to or within the scope of the duties of the employee's position of employment and that involves the exercise of judgment or discretion, except in circumstances where, in disciplining a student, the employee uses excessive force or his or her negligence results in bodily injury to the student.
"Professional employee of a district" includes a superintendent; principal; teacher, including a substitute teacher or a teacher employed by a company that contracts with a district to provide the teacher's services to the district; a supervisor; social worker; school counselor; nurse; teacher's aide; a student in an education preparation program participating in a field experience or internship; a DPS-certified school bus driver, and any other person whose employment requires certification and the exercise of discretion.
Motor Vehicle Exception
Education Code 22.0511 does not apply to the operation, use, or maintenance of any motor vehicle.
Education Code 22.0511(a)–(b), .051; Hopkins v. Spring Indep. Sch. Dist., 736 S.W.2d 617 (Tex. 1987); Barr v. Bernhard, 562 S.W.2d 844 (Tex. 1978)
In addition to the immunity described above [at Professional Employees], and under other provisions of state law, an individual is entitled to any immunity and any other protections afforded under the Paul D. Coverdell Teacher Protection Act of 2001 (Coverdell Act). [See Teachers, below] Nothing in Education Code 22.0511(c) shall be construed to limit or abridge any immunity or protection afforded an individual under state law. Education Code 22.0511(c)
A district may not, by policy, contract, or administrative directive:
- Require an employee to waive the employee's immunity from liability under Education Code 22.0511; or
- Require an employee who acts in good faith to pay for or replace property belonging to a student or other person that the employee possessed because of an act incident to or within the scope of employment. [See DG(LEGAL) at Instructional Materials and Technological Equipment]
Education Code 22.0511(d)
Teachers (Coverdell Act)
Except as provided in 20 U.S.C. Section 7946(b), no teacher in a school shall be liable for harm caused by an act or omission of the teacher on behalf of the school if:
- The teacher was acting within the scope of the teacher's employment or responsibilities to a school or governmental entity;
- The actions of the teacher were carried out in conformity with federal, state, and local laws (including rules and regulations) in furtherance of efforts to control, discipline, expel, or suspend a student or maintain order or control in the classroom or school;
- If appropriate or required, the teacher was properly licensed, certified, or authorized by the appropriate authorities for the activities or practice involved in the state in which the harm occurred, where the activities were or practice was undertaken within the scope of the teacher's responsibilities;
- The harm was not caused by willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or a conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed by the teacher; and
- The harm was not caused by the teacher's operating a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or other vehicle for which the state requires the operator or the owner of
the vehicle, craft, or vessel to:
- Possess an operator's license; or
- Maintain insurance.
- A teacher, instructor, principal, or administrator;
- Another educational professional who works in a school;
- An individual member of a school board (as distinct from the board); or
- A professional or nonprofessional employee who works in a school, and:
- In the employee's job, maintains discipline or ensures safety; or
- In an emergency, is called on to maintain discipline or ensure safety.
20 U.S.C. Sections 7943, 7946(a)
Report of Drug Offenses
A teacher, administrator, or other district employee is not liable in civil damages for reporting to a school administrator or governmental authority, in the exercise of professional judgment within the scope of the teacher's, administrator's, or employee's duties, a student whom the teacher suspects of using, passing, or selling, on school property any of the following substances:
- Marijuana or a controlled substance, as defined by the Texas Controlled Substances Act.
- A dangerous drug, as defined by the Texas Dangerous Drug Act.
- An abusable glue or aerosol paint, as defined by Health and Safety Code Chapter 485, or a volatile chemical, if the substance is used or sold for the purpose of inhaling its fumes or vapors.
- An alcoholic beverage, as defined by Section 1.04, Alcoholic Beverage Code.
Education Code 37.016
Report to Local Law Enforcement
A principal or person designated by the principal is not liable in civil damages for making a good faith report to law enforcement, as required by law, of an activity specified at Education Code 37.015. Education Code 37.015 [See GRAA]
Child Abuse and Maltreatment
The requirements of Education Code 38.0041 [regarding prevention of abuse and other maltreatment of children, see FFG] are considered to involve an employee's judgment and discretion and are not considered ministerial acts for purposes of immunity from liability under Education Code 22.0511 [see Immunity from Individual Liability, above]. Education Code 38.0041 [See DG regarding protection from disciplinary proceedings]
Attendance Committee Membership
A member of an attendance committee is not personally liable for any act or omission arising out of duties as a member of an attendance committee. Education Code 25.092(c)
Administration of Medication
A district, a board, and its employees shall be immune from civil liability for damages or injuries resulting from the administration of medication to a student in accordance with Education Code 22.052. Education Code 22.052(a), (b) [See FFAC]
Immunity for Mental Health First Aid
A person who has completed a mental health first aid training program offered by a local mental health authority and who in good faith attempts to assist an individual experiencing a mental health crisis is not liable in civil damages for an act performed in attempting to assist the individual unless the act is willfully or wantonly negligent. Health and Safety Code 1001.206.
Immunity for Shelter Workers
An officer or employee of a district is not civilly liable for an act performed in the discharge of duty if the person is performing an activity related to sheltering or housing individuals in connection with the evacuation of an area stricken or threatened by disaster. Gov't Code 418.006, 431.085
Liability for Causing Exposure to Pandemic Disease
A person is not liable for injury or death caused by exposing an individual to a pandemic disease during a pandemic emergency except as provided by Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 148. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 148.003(a)