A kindergarten teacher was involved in a physical altercation with a student. The teacher claimed that she applied reasonable force to the student's hands to keep the child from hitting other students, but the district's investigation found that the teacher caused injury to the child by restraining her arm behind her and slamming her to the floor, causing her mouth to bleed. Despite the dispute regarding the underlying facts, the teacher was suspended from her teaching duties and reassigned to work at a football stadium fieldhouse.
The district proposed the
mid-year termination of the teacher's contract. The teacher ultimately
contested that proposed termination, but then withdrew her appeal. While that
was pending, the district's board of trustees proposed the nonrenewal of the
teacher's contract at the end of the year. The teacher had the option to
contest that decision as well, but chose not to and instead filed a lawsuit in
At district court, the teacher
made many arguments that she normally would have made at a nonrenewal hearing.
Specifically, she argued that the Texas Education Code protects a teacher's use
of force under certain circumstances. She also argued that the district failed to
consider her evaluations when it proposed the nonrenewal of her contract.
The district court dismissed her case and she appealed.
The Court of Appeals held that
the teacher's lawsuit should be dismissed. Teachers have the right to contest
the proposed nonrenewal of their contract by requesting a hearing. If they
disagree with the outcome of that hearing, they have the right to appeal that
decision to the commissioner of education, district court and the courts
of appeal, as appropriate. However, the teacher did not request a hearing and
simply filed a lawsuit. Therefore, she failed to exhaust her administrative
remedies prior to going to court.