Statutory Immunity for Educators: An Analysis of Decisions by the Texas Commissioner of Education and Texas Appellate Courts After House Bill 4
Dallas Campus (Online)
Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Committee Chair or Primary Advisor
Timothy B. Jones
Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor
Third Committee Member or Committee Reader
This qualitative legal study explored statutory immunity protection provided to Texas educators under the Texas Education Code §22.0511 and §22.0512. The Texas legislature enacted the statutory immunity provisions as part of House Bill 4 and tort reform in 2003. Researchers have called for more balance when providing immunity protections for educators. The researcher limited the study to Texas Commissioner of Education decisions and Texas appellate court cases. The study utilized a legal framework to determine under what circumstances the rulings of statutory immunity shields educators from liability. The findings in this study provide evidence that Texas educators have more immunity protection than before the passage of House Bill 4. The study revealed that the adoption of the Texas Education Code §22.0511 and §22.0512 has led to additional immunity protection for educators. The findings are consistent with previous research demonstrating it is a misconception that educators may never lay hands on students. The data provided evidence that Texas educators may use justified force against students to control, train, or educate a student. Further, educators with tenure and no prior reprimands are shielded by immunity if they use reasonable force protected under the Texas Education Code §22.0152. The findings also suggest appellate courts do not want to interfere in employee discipline issues. The study indicated appellate courts did not rule in favor of a disgruntled employee who sues supervisors or other district employees. The passage of Texas Education Code §22.0511 and §22.0512 achieved the legislature’s goal of providing additional immunity protection foreducators.
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Kates, Melissa Ballou, "Statutory Immunity for Educators: An Analysis of Decisions by the Texas Commissioner of Education and Texas Appellate Courts After House Bill 4" (2020). Digital Commons @ ACU, Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 258.
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