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Tips for handling legal issues in your district

1. Communicate. Try to head off any concerns before they escalate to a lawsuit by communicating with everyone involved. Where children are concerned, use ‘kid friendly’ language in the classrooms.

2. Involve insurance. Call your insurance carrier, informing the company of a problem. You can lose coverage if you don’t tell them the lawsuit is coming. Then determine whether your insurance company will retain counsel for you or if you need to retain your own.

3. Hire counsel. If needed, hire counsel and work out a legal strategy for handling the matter.

Get everyone listed under attorney-client privilege so all conversations among administrative staff and teachers on the matter are protected from legal scrutiny. Even if you feel you did nothing wrong and you have nothing to protect, protect those conversations anyway.

Sources: Jack M. Sleethe, attorney at law, Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff, and Holtz (San Diego, Calif.), and Timothy Baird, superintendent, Encinitas (Calif.) Union School District.