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Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal


liability, torts, standard of care, students with disabilities


This article explores issues of legal liability for school personnel where students with disabilities are injured in school settings or cause injuries to employees and other students in schools. While questions related to legal liability are varied, they tend to fall within two broad areas: standard of care relating to injuries to or by students; and, standard of care for employees working with students with or training others to work with students with disabilities. In both areas, the legal issue revolves around the concept of heightened standard of care, especially where framed by the language of students' IEPs (Individualized Education Programs). To what extent should injuries to, or caused by, students with disabilities be considered within the context of a heightened standard of care where an IEP reveals a student's propensity to cause injuries or to be vulnerable to injuries? Where services provided to students with severe disabilities as part of their IEPs have life-saving components to them (such as suctioning tracheotomy tubes or ambubag venting ), should the responsibility for providing those services or for training or supervising others to provide the services be assessed by a heightened standard of care?