TITLE 14

Education

Free Public Schools

CHAPTER 7. LAWFUL AUTHORITY OF TEACHERS OVER PUPILS


(a) "Disruptive behavior" includes conduct that is so unruly, disruptive or abusive that it seriously interferes with a school teacher's or school administrator's ability to communicate with the students in a classroom, with a student's ability to learn, or with the operation of a school or a school-sponsored activity.

(b) While a student is entrusted in their care or supervision, public school teachers and administrators have the same authority to control the behavior of the student and to discipline or punish the student as a parent, custodian, guardian or other person similarly responsible for the care and supervision of the student except as provided in §§ 702 and 4112F of this title. The authority includes removing a student from a classroom or school-sponsored activity.

(c) When a teacher removes a student from a classroom or school-sponsored activity in an effort to control the student's disruptive behavior, an on-site school administrator may, upon a written showing of good cause, override the teacher's decision to remove the student from the classroom or school-sponsored activity. Before overriding a teacher's decision, the administrator shall strongly presume that the teacher's decision to remove the student was reasonable and necessary under the circumstances.

(d) When a student is removed from a classroom or school-sponsored activity or is disciplined or punished pursuant to this section, the principal or the principal's designee shall afford the student appropriate due process as required by the federal and State constitutions.

(e) When a student is removed from a classroom or school-sponsored activity, the principal or the principal's designee and the removing teacher shall determine if and when a student may be readmitted to the classroom or school-sponsored activity. If the teacher and principal or principal's designee cannot agree, the superintendent or the superintendent's designee shall make the determination.

(f) When a teacher or school administrator removes a student from a classroom or school-sponsored activity or disciplines or punishes a student, a rebuttable presumption exists that the teacher or administrator acted reasonably, in good faith, and in accordance with State or local board of education policy. The burden of overcoming the presumption shall be upon the student.

(g) Each local board of education shall establish, adopt, publish and distribute to students in the district and their parents or guardians policy or standards that:

(1) Specify the general circumstances under which a student may be removed from a classroom or school-sponsored activity, consistent with a teacher's ultimate authority to determine disruptive behavior and to remove a student from a classroom or school-sponsored activity; and

(2) Further define and/or provide examples of "disruptive behavior" set forth in subsection (a) of this section.

(h) A district shall not establish or adopt a policy or standards that prohibit the removal of a student from a classroom or school-sponsored activity.

(i) No teacher who purports to have acted pursuant to the teacher's rights established by this chapter shall be found liable for civil damages arising from that action unless that teacher's conduct shocks the conscience.

14 Del. C. 1953, § 701; 57 Del. Laws, c. 383; 60 Del. Laws, c. 662, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 236, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 75, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 17, §§ 1-3; 75 Del. Laws, c. 158, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 54, § 1.;

(a) "Corporal punishment" means the intentional infliction of physical pain which is used as a means of discipline. "Corporal punishment" includes, but is not limited to, paddling and slapping, when used as a means of discipline.

(b) No public school teacher, administrator, official employee or agent of the School Board may subject a student enrolled in the school district to corporal punishment.

(c) Subsection (b) of this section does not prohibit a public school teacher, administrator, official employee or agent of a school board from:

(1) Using reasonable and necessary force to quell a disturbance, including but not limited to a physical altercation, or prevent an act that threatens imminent bodily harm to any person;

(2) Using reasonable and necessary force to obtain possession of a weapon, or other dangerous object within a student's control;

(3) Using reasonable and necessary force for the purpose of self-defense or the defense of others under §§ 464 and 465 of Title 11;

(4) Using reasonable and necessary force for the protection of property under § 466 of Title 11;

(5) Using reasonable and necessary force to prevent a student from imminently inflicting bodily harm on that student's own self;

(6) Using reasonable and necessary force to protect the bodily safety of others; or

(7) Using incidental or minor physical contact necessary to maintain order and control.

(d) In determining whether or not a person was acting within the exceptions in subsection (c) of this section, deference shall be given to reasonable, good faith judgments made by the teacher, administrator, official employee or agent.

(e) Nothing in this section shall prohibit, permit or otherwise affect any action taken by the teacher, administrator, official employee or agent of the School Board with regard to a person who is not a student enrolled in the school district.

(f) For purposes of this section, the term "reasonable and necessary" shall be interpreted in conformity with applicable limitations established by § 4112F of this title.

74 Del. Laws, c. 17, § 4; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 54, § 1.;