Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 1974 Issue »

    Can a Student Sue the Schools for Educational Malpractice?

    David Abel
    Legal intervention into the educational process has been limited largely to questions of equality of opportunity and resource distribution. A unique case, Peter Doe v. San Francisco Unified School District, now asks the court to help citizens hold schools responsible for the professional provision of their services. Peter Doe, a youth who could read only at fifth-grade level when he graduated from high school, claims that his low reading ability is the direct result of the negligence of San Francisco school personnel, and he is asking for monetary compensation for the injuries they have caused him. In this article, the author first treats the legal hurdles the Doe case must overcome simply to win a hearing before a jury. He then describes the issues likely to arise in arguing the case, and examines the repercussions, legal and educational, which Doe's negligence theory may provoke.

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