Report Title:

Education Officers and Teachers; Liability Limited

 

Description:

Limits liability of educational officers, teachers, and classified personnel against any claims related to the Felix consent decree and to services for children with a disability. Replaces the term and definition of "exceptional children" with "children with a disability". (SD1)

THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

2084

TWENTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2002

S.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

RELATED TO LIMITED LIABILITY.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. Chapter 663, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"663-    Educational officers, teachers, and classified personnel; indemnification. (a) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, all claims arising out of the acts or omissions of an educational officer, teacher, or classified personnel, related to the Felix consent decree or related services for children with a disability, including claims permitted against the State under chapter 661, and claims for torts permitted against the State under chapter 662, may be brought only against the department of education, department of health, or both; provided that:

(1) The departments of education and health shall be subject to suit only in the manner provided for suits against the State, including section 661-11; and

(2) The departments of education and health shall not be subject to suit for acts or omissions of gross negligence committed by educational officers, teachers, or classified personnel.

(b) As used in this section:

"Educational officer" includes principals, vice-principals, and professional employees of the state and district offices of the department of education, except those employees in the classified service.

"Children with a disability" means children with a disability as defined in section 302A-101 and members of the plaintiff class under the Felix consent decree.

"Classified personnel" means persons that provide direct educational assistance to students under the direction of a teacher or provide professional services such as speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social work, school-based behavioral health, and psychological services to children with a disability.

"Teacher" means a person whose duties in the public educational system are primarily teaching or instruction of students or related activities centered primarily on students and who is in close and continuous contact with students, and shall include but not be limited to classroom teachers, school librarians, counselors, registrars, and special education teachers."

SECTION 2. Section 302A-101, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by repealing the definition of "exceptional children".

[""Exceptional children" includes:

(1) Persons under twenty years of age who deviate from the so-called normal person in physical, mental, social, or emotional characteristics or abilities to such an extent that specialized training, techniques, and equipment are required to enable these persons to attain the maximum of their abilities or capacities; provided that "exceptional children" shall not include "gifted and talented children";

(2) Persons under twenty years of age who by reason of physical defects cannot attend the regular public school classes with normal children; and

(3) Persons under twenty years of age who are certified by a licensed physician eligible for membership in the state medical society as being emotionally maladjusted or intellectually incapable of profiting from ordinary instructional methods."]

SECTION 3. Section 302A-101, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new definition to be appropriately inserted and to read as follows:

""Children with a disability" means persons under twenty years of age evaluated as having mental retardation, a hearing impairment including deafness, a speech or language impairment, a visual impairment including blindness, serious emotional disturbance, an orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, any other health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities, and who by reason thereof, needs special education and related services."

SECTION 4. Chapter 302A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, are amended by deleting the words "exceptional children" and substituting the words "children with a disability", as the context requires.

SECTION 5. Section 302A-604.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

"(b) Departmental school district business and fiscal officers shall be responsible for:

(1) Coordinating physical plant operations and maintenance activities with the department of accounting and general services;

(2) Coordinating the training and selection of school custodians; monitoring the performance of school custodians in accomplishing minor repairs with funds from school-level minor repairs and maintenance accounts; and overseeing these accounts at the direction of school principals;

(3) Planning for capital improvement projects with the department of education and the department of accounting and general services;

(4) Ensuring that school facilities comply with the laws and rules regarding:

(A) The provision of a free appropriate public education for [exceptional children with disabilities;] children with a disability; and

(B) The provision of a free appropriate public education for qualified students with disabilities;

(5) Assisting the department, individual schools, and school complexes in forming partnerships with community groups, volunteers, and businesses to obtain donated and discounted repair and maintenance services and materials; and

(6) Developing, coordinating, overseeing, and participating in the data collection for the physical plant analysis report and the maintenance plan for each school."

SECTION 6. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun, before its effective date.

SECTION 7. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 8. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.