200-211 Criminal Civil Action Against School District


SERIES: 200 School Board
SUBJECT: 211 Criminal or Civil Action Against School District, School Board Member, Employee, or Student


The school district shall defend and indemnify any school board member or school district employee for damages in school-related litigation, including punitive damages, claimed or levied against the school board member or employee, provided that he or she was acting in the performance of the duties of the position and was not guilty of malfeasance, willful neglect of duty, or bad faith in compliance with Minnesota law.

The school district shall, with respect to teachers employed by the school district and upon written request of the teacher involved, provide legal counsel for any school teacher against whom a claim is made or action is brought for recovery of damages in any tort action involving physical injury to any person or property or for wrongful death arising out of or in connection with the employment of the teacher with the school district.  The school district will choose legal counsel after consultation with the teacher.

Educational data and personnel data maintained by the school district may be sought as evidence in a civil proceeding.  The school district will release the data only in compliance with Minnesota law.  When an employee is subpoenaed and is expected to testify regarding educational data or personnel data, he or she is to inform the building administrator or designated supervisor, who shall immediately inform the superintendent.  No school board member or employee may release data without consultation in advance with the school district official who is designated as the authority responsible for the collection, use, and dissemination of data.

It is the policy of the school district that its officers and employees will normally not be involved in serving subpoenas and other legal documents for third parties in the school setting.

Leave for employees appearing in court, either when sued or under subpoena to testify, will be considered in accordance with school district personnel policies and applicable collective bargaining agreements.


The school district expects that its employees serve as positive role models for students and, therefore, have a duty to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner.

If the school district receives information relating to activities of a criminal nature by an employee, the school district will investigate and take appropriate action, which may include discharge, subject to school district policies, statutes and provisions of applicable collective bargaining agreements.

The school district has an interest in maintaining a safe and healthful environment and in preventing disruption of the educational process.  In order to further that interest, the school district will take appropriate action regarding students convicted of crimes as it relates to the school environment.
Criminal Investigations

The school district shall cooperate with law enforcement officials.  The school district shall encourage law enforcement officials to question students and employees outside of school hours and off school premises unless there are extenuating circumstances or the matter being investigated is school-related, or as otherwise provided by law.

If such questioning at school is unavoidable, the school district will attempt to maintain confidentiality and to avoid embarrassment to the students and employees and to avoid disruption of the educational program.  The school district will attempt to notify parents of a student under age 18 that police will be questioning their child.  The superintendent, principal, or other appropriate school official will be present during the interview, except as otherwise required by law, or as otherwise determined in consultation with the parent or guardian.

Data Practices
The school district will release to law enforcement authorities educational and personnel data only in accordance with Minnesota law.

The school district recognizes that when a civil or criminal action is commenced or pending, parties to the lawsuit have particular duties in reference to person involved or named in the lawsuit, as well as insurance carrier(s).  Therefore, school board members or school district employees shall make or release statements in that situation only in consultation with the school district legal counsel.

Legal References:
M.S. Ch. 13 (MN Government Data Practices Act)
M.S. 123B.25 (Actions against Teachers)
M.S. 121A.40-121A.56 (Pupil Fair Dismissal Act)
M.S. 466.07, Subd. 1 (Indemnification)
20 U.S.C. 1232g (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)
42 U.S.C. 1983 (Civil Action for Deprivating Rights)
Op. Atty. Gen. 169 (MN, Mar 7, 1963)
Op. Atty. Gen. 169 (MN Nov. 3, 1943)

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Lincoln Elementary School
1114 East 23rd Street
Hibbing, MN 55746

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Office Phone: (218) 208-0842
Principal: Mr. Robert Bestul
Hibbing Public Schools,
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