Emily Stone
Matthew Hotard
Court Case 7
James Jeffrey Lentz, et. al.
Johnny Morris
Supreme Court of Virginia
September 23, 1988

James Lentz and his mother filed suit against Johnny Morris, a high school gym teacher, when the latter instructed students to play tackle football without any protective gear. Lentz and his mother claim that, as a physical education teacher, Morris should have known that without proper protection, students were liable to be hurt. This case was brought before more than one court because the original decision was for the defense, as he was coupled in with those employed by the school board that “enjoy the board's governmental immunity.” The plaintiff was seeking recovery for injuries sustained while playing tackle football without proper safety equipment.
Decision and Rationale:
Upon hearing the case and discussing prior legislation, the Supreme Court upheld the Trial Court's decision to dismiss. While there was evidence to support injuries sustained, there was not sufficient evidence to support the claim that Morris was negligent towards the students. Supreme Court ruled that the teacher was immune.
Impact on Teaching:
Despite immunity, there is no room for negligence in the education system. Teachers must take all possible precautions to ensure that each and every student is safe in all school sponsored activities during school hours whether performed on or off school grounds. It is the responsibility of the teacher to ensure students safety and know what it entails prior to all exercises or activities.

Quiz Question: (T/F) All faculty and staff employed by the Board of Education are immune to lawsuits involving negligence.