What is the liability of a school for sexual abuse by their counselor? A recent California Supreme Court case addressed the liability of a school district for the sexual abuse/misconduct allegations against a school counselor in C.A. vs. Hart Union High School District.
In this case the plaintiff/student alleged that the school district was liable for the conduct of the counselor. The theories against the school district were that the district was negligent in its hiring, training, supervision, etc. of the counselor. The school district claimed that the law did not impose liability on the district for the acts of its counselor. The district filed a demurrer, which is a motion made at the pleading stage. No trial had been held.
The California Supreme Court held that a school district can be held liable as a public entity for negligent hiring, training, retaining, supervision, etc. of its teachers, and/or counselors. However, if the school district was not negligent in these areas, then there is likely to be no liability imposed on the district.
In the case, the Court wrote: “We conclude plaintiff’s theory of vicarious liability for negligent hiring, retention and supervision is a legally viable one. Ample case authority establishes that school personnel owe students under their supervision a protective duty of ordinary care, for breach of which the school district may be held vicariously liable.”
The liability of a school for sexual abuse by their counselor is established under California law. If you are concerned about sexual abuse, rape or other crimes against a child by a school district or it’s employees you could have a legal right to full and fair compensation.
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