S.O.S. — Save Our Schools

Who will control America’s classrooms, teachers or trial lawyers? That is one of the questions voters will answer when they go to the polls Nov. 7.

What’s the first thing most principals consider before making decisions that affect our schools? One would hope it would be the best way to better our children’s education, but according to Vincent Ferradino, executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, it’s not. Thanks to the trial lawyers, principals have to think about lawsuits first.

“We need to let our teachers worry about educating our students, not the threat of a frivolous lawsuit,” said CSE’s Director of Civil Justice Reform Jaci Brown. “Whether its disciplining a student or giving a bad grade, teachers are at risk from frivolous lawsuits.”

Educators across the nation express similar concerns. “People will sue much quicker and for much less of a circumstance than ever before. Everyone has to be litigation conscious,” says J.W. Smith, director of the department of sports administration for the Chicago Public Schools. Vincent Ferradino stated, “whenever we plan for anything in a school today, our first consideration is how to avoid a lawsuit.”

“It’s time we provide teachers the protection they deserve by passing laws that fix our civil justice system,” said Brown.

Where the Candidates Stand: Brown noted that: “Texas Gov. George W. Bush believes in giving back our legal system to decent honest Americans with real grievances. In Texas, Gov. Bush signed comprehensive civil justice reform. During his election campaign he has made civil justice reform and protecting America’s teachers a top priority. In fact, Gov. Bush has proposed the “Teacher Protection Act,” which shields teachers from frivolous lawsuits.

“Vice President Gore, on the other hand, has no plan to protect America’s teachers or everyday Americans from frivolous lawsuits. In fact, the Clinton-Gore administration vetoed every significant piece of civil justice reform legislation passed by Congress. Instead of looking for ways to solve the junk lawsuit problem, Al Gore continues to focus on taking trial lawyer money.”