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Governor gives teachers more legal protection

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Hoping to curb frivolous lawsuits against teachers and schools, Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law today legislation that he describes as being the strongest in the nation on protecting teachers from student discipline litigation.

With Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett nearby, Daniels held a ceremonial signing of House Enrolled Act 1462 this morning that put the new student discipline law into place starting July 1. It grants educators a qualified immunity status for a disciplinary action taken in "good faith," creates a process to ensure teachers are afforded state legal defense when sued, expands the authority of teachers to remove disruptive students from their classrooms, and establishes a national criminal background check for potential educators.

Teachers don't feel comfortable disciplining students because of possible lawsuits, Daniels and Zoeller said. Teachers would essentially be given the same qualified immunity status as state police or government officials, they said.

"Quality education cannot start until order prevails, and as of today Indiana has the strongest law protecting teachers against unruly students, unreasonable parents, and lawyers of all kinds," Daniels said. "This essentially eliminates the ability to sue a teacher or school acting in good faith, and ends the threat of legal harassment, except in the most extreme of circumstances."

Daniels described "good faith" as anything that doesn't involve a personal vendetta against a child. With this statute, the Attorney General's Office will also offer a hotline for teachers to use for assistance on legal issues. They will be referred to a deputy attorney general in the litigation division who will evaluate their case.

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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