Statement on Professional Liability of Interns and Student Teachers
School personnel are responsible for ensuring the safety and protection of students at all times. Teacher education candidates completing field experiences and clinical practice are legally viewed as school employees and may be personally charged with negligence if accident or injury occurs to a student in their care. Neither the State of North Carolina nor Western Carolina University will be responsible for providing legal defense for any professional education candidate or for paying for any judgment which may be entered against the accused; therefore, the College of Education and Allied Professions strongly recommends that all professional education candidates purchase professional liability insurance during any semester they are completing an early field experience, block, internship, Student Teaching or Special Education Practicum requirement. Many professional organizations offer professional liability coverage as a benefit of membership. Examples of such organizations include, but are not limited to, the following:
Student Chapter North Carolina Association of Educators (SNCAE) http://www.ncae.org/
Professional Educators of North Carolina (PENC)
Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
Kappa Delta Pi (KDP)
Information on obtaining private liability insurance can be obtained from the North Carolina Association of Insurance Agents.
“Student teaching" may include those duties granted to a teacher by G.S. 115C-307 and G.S. 115C-309 and any other part of the school program for which either the supervising teacher or the principal is responsible. Applicable North Carolina General Statutes are found below can be accessed at: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/Statutes/StatutesTOC.pl?Chapter=0115C
§ 115C-307. Duties of teachers.
(a) To Maintain Order and Discipline. – It shall be the duty of all teachers, including student teachers, substitute teachers, voluntary teachers, and teacher assistants when given authority over some part of the school program by the principal or supervising teacher, to maintain good order and discipline in their respective schools. A teacher, student teacher, substitute teacher, voluntary teacher, or teacher assistant shall report to the principal acts of violence in school and students suspended or expelled from school as required to be reported in accordance with State Board policies.
(b) To Provide for General Well-Being of Students. – It shall be the duty of all teachers, including student teachers, substitute teachers, voluntary teachers, and teacher assistants when given authority over some part of the school program by the principal or supervising teacher, to encourage temperance, morality, industry, and neatness; to promote the health of all pupils, especially of children in the first three grades, by providing frequent periods of recreation, to supervise the play activities during recess, and to encourage wholesome exercises for all children.
(c) To Provide Some Medical Care to Students. – It is within the scope of duty of teachers, including substitute teachers, teacher assistants, student teachers or any other public school employee when given such authority by the board of education or its designee to provide medical care to students as provided in G.S. 115C-375.1.
(d) To Teach the Students. – It shall be the duty of all teachers, including student teachers, substitute teachers, voluntary teachers, and teacher assistants when given authority over some part of the school program by the principal or supervising teacher, to teach as thoroughly as they are able all branches which they are required to teach; to provide for singing in the school, and so far as possible to give instruction in the public school music.
(e) To Enter into the Superintendent's Plans for Professional Growth. – It shall be the duty of all teachers, including student teachers, substitute teachers, voluntary teachers, and teacher assistants when given authority over some part of the school program by the principal or supervising teacher, to enter actively into the plans of the superintendent for the professional growth of the teachers.
(f) To Discourage Nonattendance. – Teachers shall cooperate with the principal in ascertaining the cause of nonattendance of pupils that he may report all violators of the compulsory attendance law to the school social worker in accordance with rules promulgated by the State Board of Education.
(g) To Make Required Reports. – A teacher shall make all reports required by the local board of education. The superintendent shall not approve the voucher for a teacher's pay until the required monthly and annual reports are made. The superintendent may require a teacher to make reports to the principal. A teacher shall be given access to the information in the student information management system to expedite the process of preparing reports or otherwise providing information. A teacher shall not be required by the local board, the superintendent, or the principal to (i) provide information that is already available on the student information management system; (ii) provide the same written information more than once during a school year unless the information has changed during the ensuing period; or (iii) complete forms, for children with disabilities, that are not necessary to ensure compliance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Notwithstanding the forgoing, a local board may require information available on its student information management system or require the same information twice if the local board can demonstrate a compelling need and can demonstrate there is not a more expeditious manner of getting the information. Any teacher who knowingly and willfully makes or procures another to make any false report or records, requisitions, or payrolls, respecting daily attendance of pupils in the public schools, payroll data sheets, or other reports required to be made to any board or officer in the performance of their duties, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and the certificate of such person to teach in the public schools of North Carolina shall be revoked by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
(h) To Take Care of School Buildings. – It shall be the duty of every teacher to instruct children in proper care of property and to exercise due care in the protection of school property, in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 115C-523. (1955, c. 1372, art. 17, ss. 4, 6; 1959, cc. 1016, 1294; 1969, c. 638, ss. 2, 3; 1971, c. 434; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985, c. 642; c. 686, s. 2; 1989, c. 585, s. 4; 1993, c. 539, s. 884; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1997-443, s. 8.29(k); 2000-67, s. 8.18(a); 2005-22, s. 2(a).)
§ 115C-309. Student teachers.
(a) Student Teacher and Student Teaching Defined. – A "student teacher" is any student enrolled in an institution of higher education approved by the State Board of Education for the preparation of teachers who is jointly assigned by that institution and a local board of education to student-teach under the direction and supervision of a regularly employed certified teacher. "Student teaching" may include those duties granted to a teacher by G.S. 115C-307 and 115C-390 and any other part of the school program for which either the supervising teacher or the principal is responsible.
(b) Legal Protection. – A student teacher under the supervision of a certified teacher or principal shall have the protection of the laws accorded the certified teacher.
(c) Assignment of Duties. – It shall be the responsibility of a supervising teacher, in cooperation with the principal and the representative of the teacher-preparation institution, to assign to the student teacher responsibilities and duties that will provide adequate preparation for teaching. (1969, c. 638, s. 1; 1981, c. 423, s. 1.)