In the case of Myers v. Boardman Local Sch. Dist. Bd. of Edn., N.D.Ohio No. 4:21-cv-2048 (July 11, 2022), a federal district court held that, considering the alleged facts most favorable to a mother and her son, sufficient facts were pled to alleged that a teacher violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and/or engaged in the wanton and reckless supervision of a classroom aide based upon the allegations that the teacher knew that the classroom aide was abusing the son, but failed to stop the abuse and even covered up the abuse by failing to properly report the same.
In this case, the mother and son argued that their equal protection and wanton/reckless supervision claims must proceed were sufficiently pled as the teacher had knowledge that the classroom aide was abusing the son, failed to properly supervise the classroom aide, and failed to properly report the alleged abuse. In response, the teacher argued that these claims must be dismissed as the teacher had no knowledge of the alleged abuse because the teacher was not present when the alleged abuse arose and, in addition, the teacher was not the direct supervisor of the classroom aide because the teacher had no authority to either hire or fire the classroom aide. The federal district court agreed with the mother and son.
In support of its decision in favor of the mother and son as to the equal protection claim, the federal district court explained that, when the facts are considered in a light most favorable to the mother and son, sufficient facts were pled to alleged that the teacher violated the son’s constitutional right to personal security and bodily integrity and to be free from arbitrary governmental conduct that lacks all socially redeeming value. The federal district court further explained that sufficient facts were pled to alleged that the classroom aide’s conduct, which allegedly was authorized, condoned, and acquiesced to by the teacher, violated those rights in a manner that shocks the conscience.
In support of its decision in favor of the mother and son as to the wanton/reckless supervision claim, the federal district court explained that sufficient facts were pled to alleged that the teacher had a duty to supervise the classroom aide concluding that:
[Whether the teacher had a duty to supervise the aide] may very well be dependent upon Ohio statutes governing schools and their operation and/or the Board’s particular policies governing Boardman Local Schools and the responsibilities of various employees. It is well within the realm of possibility that the classroom aide, although hired/fired by the Board, is nonetheless under the day-to-day supervision of the teacher(s) within whose classroom(s) the aide serves, in much the same way that the principal, who typically does not hire/fire teachers, nonetheless has some responsibility for supervision of the teachers.
To read this case, click here.
NOTE: The federal district court did dismiss the mother and son’s Fourth Amendment excessive force and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment claims against the teacher.
Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.
Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.