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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Ind. Decisions - "COA backs teacher's handling of disruptive pupil"

The COA opinion Oct. 6th in the case of Andrew Kesling v. Dorothy Kesling, Adam Kesling and Emily Kesling In Catherine A. Littleton v. State of Indiana (ILB entry here) was the subject of this story by Bill McCleery in the Oct. 8th Indianapolis Star. Some quotes:

A Perry Township teacher broke no laws when she approved a classroom aide's decision to strap a disruptive student into a chair, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled this week.

The appellate court dismissed charges against Catherine Littleton of confinement, battery and neglect of a dependent -- reversing a trial court's earlier deliberations. * * *

Whatever the merits -- or lack thereof -- of using the chair, Littleton possessed "qualified immunity" as a teacher. That status provides legal protection "with respect to a disciplinary action take to promote student conduct," the court noted, "if the action is taken in good faith and is reasonable."

"However unusual or surprising at first blush the path chosen may have been," the three judges wrote in the decision, "Littleton's and Stokes' efforts to calm (the student) succeeded without imposing harm or apparently even risking harm."

The decision also noted that the chair appeared successful in calming the student. The judges cited the aide's testimony that the student "laughed" during the process of being confined to the chair and proceeded with the rest of the school day "perfectly content" after eventually calming down.

Littleton remains on administrative leave without pay from Perry Meridian Middle School.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 9, 2011 10:31 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions