Civil Liability and District Responsibility to Insure

Under GOVERNMENT CODE section 820, teachers, like all other public employees in California, are liable for injury caused by their acts or omissions to the same extent as private persons. They may be personally liable if, in the performance of their school duties, their negligent or wrongful conduct causes harm to pupils or others. Teachers face the risk of lawsuits for torts such as assault and battery, slander, libel, defamation, false arrest, and malpractice. However, GOVERNMENT CODE section 825 requires a school district to provide a defense and pay any judgment or settlement resulting from any action in the course and scope of employment.

Fortunately, teachers are afforded considerable protection by the law in the performance of their duties. School districts are required by law to insure against the personal liability of employees for loss or damage to property or damages for death or injury to any person as a result of any negligent act or omission of an employee within the scope of employment. Ed. Code 35208.

Limitations of Liability

No employee of any school district shall be responsible or liable for the conduct or safety of pupils while they are not on school property, unless the district or a specified person has undertaken to provide transportation to and from school, or undertaken school activity off the campus, or otherwise assumed responsibility or liability, or has failed to exercise reasonable care. Ed. Code 44808, 877706. In such specific undertakings, liability extends only while the pupil is or should be under the immediate and direct supervision of a district employee. Ed Code 44808.