The Teacher Liability Scare Karen Stroud, ProEd Member Services Coordinator Due to their unique role, teachers face a much greater exposure to liability than does the average citizen and, therefore, must exercise a higher duty of care than most professionals. Every day teachers must deal with diverse laws related to issues such as child abuse, student discipline, negligence, defamation, student records, and copyright infringement. Tennessee teachers often cite professional liability insurance as a major reason for becoming a member of a professional organization, and rightly so. more heavily used by our members than is liability protection. The insurance and legal protection provided to our members is the best that is available to educators and education students or offered by any education association in the state of Tennessee. No other association in our state matches the protection offered by Professional Educators of Tennessee. Our Educators Professional Liability Insurance Policy includes up to $2 million in professional liability insurance, the broadest coverage available, as well as extensive employment rights defense. This means you will be provided legal assistance in many employment disputes, recommendations for non-reemployment, termination of employment, and reduction in force. We know that in the world we live in today, teachers can indeed be sued if a child falls down and breaks his arm on the playground. A playground monitor can be sued for not providing the child with a “safe environment” at school. Without other alternatives, teachers feel they have no choice but to join a teacher labor union in order to feel protected in such a litigious society. That is far from accurate. In Don’t Be Fooled Tennessee, as in many other states, teachers The stories we hear and incidents witnessed now have a choice. first-hand of other groups’ use of the membership benefit of liability insurance Today, independent, state-focused, non- as a principal organizing tool borders on union, professional educator groups are the coercion. They count on teachers’ fear of fastest growing segment of teachers in the being sued and lack of knowledge about nation. They promote professional/career alternative sources of liability insurance to development moving teachers forward in draw them into membership. We don’t scare a positive way. We offer twice the liability our members with unnecessary fear tactics. In reality, the employment protection coverage is much more heavily used by our members than is liability protection. protection as teacher labor unions do, lower costs, and other attractions without the politics, the hierarchy, and the high dues price. Teachers now have options when it comes to liability insurance coverage. Even more importantly, they are far more likely to encounter situations related to employment rights rather than liability insurance. In reality, the employment protection coverage is much Unlike other organizations where employment protection is discretionary, Professional Educators of Tennessee has no committee or group of people who will decide whether or not you will be represented should you face such an employment situation. This coverage saves our members thousands of dollars in legal fees every year and provides immeasurable peace of mind.