Teachers and the Law – Civil Actions & Injunctions
The parent or guardian of any minor whose willful misconduct results in injury or death to any pupil, employee, or volunteer in a district or who willfully cuts, defaces, or injures the property of any such person is liable for damages not to exceed $10,000. The parent or guardian is also liable for all property belonging to the district loaned to a minor and not returned upon demand. Ed. Code 48904.
A teacher may request the school district to take legal action against a pupil (or the pupil’s parents) when the teacher or his/her property is injured or damaged by the pupil while: (1) located on district property; (2) being transported to or from a district activity; (3) present at a district activity; or (4) in retaliation for an employee’s lawful acts in the line of duty. Ed. Code 48905.
In addition, injured teachers may have a right of action against the school district. In June, 1982, California voters approved Proposition 8, the so-called “Victims Bill of Rights.” Among other things, this Constitutional amendment added a Constitutional right to safe schools. Article I, Section 28c provides that all public school students and staff have an “inalienable right to attend campuses which are safe, secure and peaceful.”
A school district can seek and obtain a temporary restraining order and injunction on behalf of an employee who has suffered an assault, battery, stalking or “credible” threat of violence at the workplace.
In order to obtain a temporary restraining order, the school district must file a sworn affidavit which provides reasonable proof that an employee has suffered unlawful violence, a credible threat of violence, or great irreparable harm. If a temporary restraining order is issued by the court, it remains in effect for up to fifteen (15) days pending a hearing where the defendant can appear. If the person allegedly making threats is a current employee, the judge shall receive evidence concerning the school district’s decision to retain, terminate, or otherwise discipline the defendant. Ultimately, if the judge determines the defendant engaged in violence or threatened violence, the judge may issue an injunction for up to three (3) years prohibiting further unlawful violence or threats.
No one who has had a restraining order issued against them can purchase a firearm. Violation of a temporary restraining order is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or one year imprisonment. CODE of Civ Proc. 5278.