Jordan Riak's letter to the Dayton Daily News re: Ohio school paddlers' civil immunity Jordan Riak's letter to the Dayton Daily News re: Ohio school paddlers' civil immunity
June 27, 2004

Dayton Daily News


HB 265 purports to address "frivolous lawsuits" against schoolteachers. No doubt one could produce a genuine example of such a lawsuit if one looked hard enough. Ohio legislators who are considering this bill apparently have accepted on faith that frivolous litigation against teachers is a real problem. But few, if any, have seen examples first hand, nor apparently bothered to verify that they exist.

If AB 265 weren't so dangerous, it could be dismissed as frivolous legislation aimed at a phantom problem. But it has a cynical subtext: it's feel-good legislation for child beaters, plain and simple. That makes it blatant political pandering of the worst sort. If it becomes law, it will create an untouchable class of abusive teachers entrenched in Ohio's public education system, with the inevitable consequence of lowering standards for the treatment of children generally.

Furthermore, a law calculated to create a sanctuary for incompetent teachers will inevitably make the teaching profession a magnet to newcomers whose abilities and motives are marginal or questionable. When standards are thus lowered, the best and the brightest stay away. The effect on a generation of schoolchildren is incalculable, and a future generation of politicians will have a real problem to fix.


Jordan Riak, Exec. Dir.
Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE)
P.O. Box 1033, Alamo, CA 94507
Tel: 925-831-1661

See related Making Ohio Schools Safe for Child Beaters
See related Dr. Robert E. Fathman's letter to the Dayton Daily News
See related Laura A. Bischoff's "State may ease paddling rules -- Bill would remove threat of lawsuits"
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