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Indiana Code 4-6-2-1.5 took effect July 1, 2009. Among other education provisions, the new law creates a stronger legal defense for teachers who are sued over school-discipline disputes.
This new statute, providing qualified immunity for teachers acting in good faith to maintain discipline in our public schools, is the first step toward ending frivolous litigation brought against teachers for acts intended to preserve a learning classroom free of behavior issues. The Office of the Indiana Attorney General (OAG) is prepared to defend teachers and the vital public interest they serve in ensuring the best environment in our schools for a world-class education.
The Attorney General joined Governor Mitch Daniels in pursuing legislation in response to incidents around the state where schoolteachers said they were reluctant to discipline students who were disruptive in class, for fear of being sued. The OAG has the legal authority under a pre-existing statute to provide legal representation to teachers. The statute extends that protection by giving teachers qualified legal immunity from lawsuits, if their actions to maintain school discipline were reasonable under the school’s policy and used in good faith.
In representing teachers named in lawsuits, the policy of the Attorney General's office is to aggressively defend them based on the legal merits of a case, rather than entering into settlements based on cost-containment concerns.
So that teachers will be empowered to appropriately and reasonably enforce school discipline at the start of the fall semester, a notification letter will be sent to teachers stating that they will be provided with legal counsel regarding their qualified immunity and legal rights.
Teachers who have been served with notice regarding potential litigation can contact the Attorney General’s constituent-services number at (317) 232-6310. They will be referred to a deputy attorney general in the Litigation Division who will evaluate their case.