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STATE-AGENT IMMUNITY - EX PARTE MONROE COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION AND FRANKYE BEAL, ET AL.

In Ex parte Monroe County Board of Education and Frankye Beal, et al., [Ms. 1090387, May 14, 2010] __ So. 3d. __ (Ala. 2010), the Alabama Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that a teacher cannot claim State-agent immunity when he or she disregards Board of Education rules applicable to the administration of corporeal punishment. In that case, a teacher at Beatrice Elementary School administered a paddling to a fifth grade student without another employee present. Although the rules themselves were not included in the record, the majority concluded (based on other evidence in the record) that the Board of Education rules required the presence of the witness. The teacher claimed that because her classroom was isolated, she would have had to leave both the misbehaving student and her entire classroom unsupervised for an unacceptable length of time in order to procure another employee to observe the corporeal punishment. The Court ruled that she did not have the discretion to use her professional judgment to disregard the rules even in exigent circumstances. Therefore, because the teacher exceeded the scope of her authority, she could not claim State-agent immunity.

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