Legal Question in Criminal Law in Texas

I'm a teacher with no criminal record of history of any wrongdoing in the classroom. I was placed on leave for putting my hands on a young man's face and shaking it very lightly...I was trying to motivate him and there was no malicious intent or anger...he was not injured in anyway (no marks, etc). It was bad judgement on my part but in no way was I assaulting this student. Am I in danger of charges being filed and what should my course of action be?

Asked on 11/20/11, 6:32 am

2 Answer from Attorneys

M. Elizabeth Foley The Law Office of M. Elizabeth Foley

From the way you've put it, it sounds like that would be at most a Class C misdemeanor assault (an "offensive" touching"). Criminally, not that big a deal, generally speaking. I don't think, though I wouldnt swear to this, that the teacher-student relationship would increase the punishment level on that. But if things are as odd in your school district as they are here, I'm afraid the only appropriate advice I or anyone else could give you would be to go ahead and retain a lawyer immediately, preferably one who will agree to and is competent to handle both the administrative/employment end of things and any possible resulting criminal charges.

Keep in mind that being put on leave isn't necessarily the harbinger of doom that it seems to be--I believe that may be legally required when there's been any kind of allegation like that made, so that you won't be around the kids while it's being investigated. Even if it's not legally required, it does make sense from a liability perspective, if you think about it. Hopefully, everything will turn out okay with this, but I really do think obtaining counsel is the best first step. Good luck.

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Answered on 11/20/11, 9:11 am

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