Date of Award


Degree Name

Educational Leadership


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type



This is a study of the current legal theories, elements, and courts’ stances affecting educational malpractice litigation. General and legal issues were researched as a basis to identify court attitudes and general public pressures. The study also took a look at the question of possible avenues for dealing with problems of educational malpractice. Should the courts decide why Johnny can’t read and award monetary damages? Should the legislature deal with the problem of faulty education, or should a totally different agency become involved in such an undertaking?

Related fields, such as medical malpractice, torts, contract theory, and responsiblities and obligations of students in the educational system, were examined as well.

Will suites of educational malpractice succeed? Should they succeed? The question of the likelihood of educational malpractice suits to succeed is also dealt with, based on the decided cases of Hoffman v. Board of Education, Donohue v. Copiague Union Free School District, Peter W. v. San Francisco Unified School District, Pauley v. Kelley, and related holdings. Suggestions for alternative approaches to educational malpractice are proposed.


The University of West Virginia College of Graduate Studies became the WV Graduate College in 1992 and was subsequently merged with Marshall University in 1997.


Tort liability of school districts.

Teachers – Malpractice.

Students – Legal status, laws, etc.