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Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

No Damages for Teacher|Hurt in Student Brawl

(CN) - A teacher cannot collect damages from the school board for injuries and a miscarriage she sustained while breaking up a fight between students, a Florida appeals court ruled.

Stacy Patrick taught learning disabled and emotionally disturbed students at a Palm Beach middle school. When a new student with known violent propensities began to brawl with another student, Patrick tried to separate them and was drawn in.

The school policy for fights is for teachers to call "Code 36" and wait for a trained response team. Patrick was not part of the Code 36 team, and she did not call for the team's support.

Patrick sued the Palm Beach County School Board for her injuries, but the trial court ruled that the board was protected by workers' compensation immunity.

The West Palm Beach-based fourth district Florida appeals court agreed.

"Patrick voluntarily inserted herself into the student altercation, in disregard of school policy, and despite her knowledge that such students may act out violently," Judge Mark Polen wrote for the court.

The court also upheld the court's decision to disallow evidence of an alleged "cover-up" of previous dangerous situations at the school, as well as evidence of Patrick's miscarriage.

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