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Corporal Punishment and Child Injuries in Mass Schools

In Massachusetts, corporal punishment is illegal.  This means that a teacher, coach or anyone else at your child’s school cannot use spanking, paddling or any other type of physical force as a means of discipline.injury lawyer

This has not always been the case and is still not the rule in some other states.  We have recently seen a rash of articles about bills being proposed in other states to ban corporal punishment in schools as the legislature in Massachusetts has already done.While one recent effort in Louisiana has just failed to get out of committee, a new law has been proposed in Tennessee to ban corporal punishment for special needs children as means of discipline.  This is a far cry from a total ban on corporal punishment, but this is considered a progressive agenda in that state.

As discussed in a recent report from WSMV News, this has become a real issue.  An investigation revealed that in the central region of the state, students with a disability are receiving corporal punishment at much higher rates than so-called mainstream students.  This is alarming to at least one lawmaker who has proposed the ban on corporal punishment for special needs students.

As our Boston injury lawyers have seen in various cases over the years, even though a teacher, assistant teacher or anyone else at the school or daycare is not allowed to harm your child, it does happen.  In some cases, we have a teacher or other employee who regularly uses corporal punishment despite it being illegal.  In other cases, we have someone that has an anger management problem working at a school and simply snaps and hits your child.  Either way, this is not okay, and you should speak with an experienced child injury lawyer to learn what your rights are and what you need to do to increase your chances of receiving a full and appropriate financial recovery.

There are a variety of claims that may be brought if a childcare provider or teacher harms your child intentionally.  In some cases, you can bring a civil assault and battery claim (tortious) against defendant and defendant’s employer.  Employer is possibly liable under what is known as the doctrine of respondeat superior.  This is also called the master-servant doctrine and essentially means that an employer is liable for any harm done by an employee, so long as the employee was acting in furtherance of employer’s interest at the time of the injury.  This does not mean employer must have wanted employee to harm the child.  If employee is on the clock watching children, that is likely enough to establish this element. If, however, the employee was not at work and had left on a personal errand, this is called a frolic and detour and would not make employer vicariously liable, to use another legal term, for this type of imparted liability.

Another claim is negligent retention or supervision.  This is where an employer had reason to know not to hire an employee and did so anyway or failed to properly supervise an employee.

If you have suffered personal injury in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Lawmaker calls to ban corporal punishment for students with special needs, May 9, 2017, By Allana Autler, WSMV News

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Alcala v. Marriott Int’l, Inc. – Icy Sidewalk Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit to be Retried, June 27, 2016, Boston Child Injury Lawyer Blog