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Classroom management

Reflect on this:

You're an elementary teacher in a self-contained classroom. You've got a class of 29 lively sixth graders, and you've been struggling all year with classroom management. Damien, a larger than average boy, seems to resist your efforts at every turn.

You like science and have tried to provide concrete, hands-on science activities whenever you can. You've been debating whether or not to do a fun activity on chemical changes where students actually test different "mystery powders" (for example, sugar, salt, and baking soda) with different liquids like water and vinegar. You decide to go ahead with it and strategically place Damien up toward the front of the room where you can watch him. In addition, you pair him with Katie, one of your more responsible female students. Everything is going well until you go to the back of the room to answer a question and hear a student shriek, "Damien!" As you rush to the front of the room, you see Katie holding her eye as a mixture of vinegar and baking soda drips down her cheek. Damien is sitting there with a guilty look on his face. As you rush the crying Katie to the office, you wonder if you should have handled the science lab differently.

1. To what extent are you responsible for the actions of students like Damien?

2. If this problem developed into a liability suit, what factors would the courts consider in judging whether you were negligent?

3. In hindsight, were there some things you could have done differently in terms of this science activity?

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Solution Preview

Having a legal background and an educational background I just had to address this post.

1) Just because Damien is larger than the average boy places no liability on the subject. Just because he resists your teaching efforts, places no liability on the subject. You as a ...

Solution Summary

The solution addresses the legal factors that face a school when a student harms another.