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. Public Schools of North Carolina . . State Board of Education . . Department Of Public Instruction .

SCHOOL LAW

NC PUBLIC SCHOOLS INSURANCE FUND (6/1/2005)

The following are NC Public School Laws which pertain to Fire Protection, Protection of school Property, and Safety & Health. These postings are for informational purposes only. Please refer to www.ncga.state.nc.us for actual statutes.


§ 115C-166.  Eye protection devices required in certain courses.

The governing board or authority of any public or private school or educational institution within the State, wherein shops or laboratories are conducted providing instructional or experimental programs involving:

  1. Hot solids, liquids or molten metals;
  2. Milling, sawing, turning, shaping, cutting, or stamping of any solid materials;
  3. Heat treatment, tempering, or kiln firing of any metal or other materials;
  4. Gas or electric arc welding;
  5. Repair or servicing of any vehicle; or
  6. Caustic or explosive chemicals or materials,

shall provide for and require that every student and teacher wear industrial-quality eye protective devices at all times while participating in any such program. These industrial-quality eye protective devices shall be furnished free of charge to the student and teacher. (1969, c. 1050, s. 1; 1981, c. 423, s. 1.)


§ 115C-167.  Visitors to wear eye safety devices.

Visitors to such shops and laboratories shall be furnished with and required to wear such eye safety devices while such programs are in progress. (1977, c. 1050, s. 2; 1981, c. 423, s. 1.)


§ 115C-168.  "Industrial-quality eye protective devices" defined.

"Industrial-quality eye protective devices", as used in G.S. 115C-166, means devices meeting the standards of the U.S.A. Standard Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, Z 87.1-1968 approved by the U.S.A. Standards Institute, Inc. (1969, c. 1050, s. 3; 1981, c. 423, s. 1.)


§ 115C-169.  Corrective-protective devices.

In those cases where corrective-protective devices that require prescription ophthalmic lenses are necessary, such devices shall only be supplied by those persons licensed by the State to prescribe or supply corrective-protective devices. (1969, c. 1050, s. 4; 1981, c. 423, s. 1.)


§ 115C-307.  Duties of teachers.

  1. To Maintain Order and Discipline. - It shall be the duty of all teachers, including student teachers, substitute teachers, voluntary teachers, and teacher assistants when given authority over some part of the school program by the principal or supervising teacher, to maintain good order and discipline in their respective schools. A teacher, student teacher, substitute teacher, voluntary teacher, or teacher assistant shall report to the principal acts of violence in school and students suspended or expelled from school as required to be reported in accordance with State Board policies.
  2. To Provide for General Well-Being of Students. - It shall be the duty of all teachers, including student teachers, substitute teachers, voluntary teachers, and teacher assistants when given authority over some part of the school program by the principal or supervising teacher, to encourage temperance, morality, industry, and neatness; to promote the health of all pupils, especially of children in the first three grades, by providing frequent periods of recreation, to supervise the play activities during recess, and to encourage wholesome exercises for all children.
  3. To Provide Some Medical Care to Students. - It is within the scope of duty of teachers, including substitute teachers, teacher assistants, student teachers or any other public school employee when given such authority by the board of education or its designee, (i) to administer any drugs or medication prescribed by a doctor upon written request of the parents, (ii) to give emergency health care when reasonably apparent circumstances indicate that any delay would seriously worsen the physical condition or endanger the life of the pupil, and (iii) to perform any other first aid or life saving techniques in which the employee has been trained in a program approved by the State Board of Education: Provided, that no one shall be required to administer drugs or medication or attend life saving techniques programs.

    Any public school employee, authorized by the board of education or its designee to act under (i), (ii), or (iii) above, shall not be liable in civil damages for any such authorized act or for any omission relating to such act unless such act or omission amounts to gross negligence, wanton conduct or intentional wrongdoing. Any person, serving in a voluntary position at the request of or with the permission or consent of the board of education or its designee, who has been given the authority by the board of education or its designee to act under (ii) above shall not be liable in civil damages for any such authorized act or for any omission relating to such act unless the act amounts to gross negligence, wanton conduct or intentional wrongdoing.

    At the commencement of each school year, but prior to the beginning of classes, and thereafter as circumstances require, the principal of each school shall determine which persons will participate in the medical care program.
  4. To Teach the Students. - It shall be the duty of all teachers, including student teachers, substitute teachers, voluntary teachers, and teacher assistants when given authority over some part of the school program by the principal or supervising teacher, to teach as thoroughly as they are able all branches which they are required to teach; to provide for singing in the school, and so far as possible to give instruction in the public school music.
  5. To Enter into the Superintendent's Plans for Professional Growth. - It shall be the duty of all teachers, including student teachers, substitute teachers, voluntary teachers, and teacher assistants when given authority over some part of the school program by the principal or supervising teacher, to enter actively into the plans of the superintendent for the professional growth of the teachers.
  6. To Discourage Nonattendance. - Teachers shall cooperate with the principal in ascertaining the cause of nonattendance of pupils that he may report all violators of the compulsory attendance law to the school social worker in accordance with rules promulgated by the State Board of Education.
  7. To Make Required Reports. - A teacher shall make all reports required by the local board of education. The superintendent shall not approve the voucher for a teacher's pay until the required monthly and annual reports are made.

    The superintendent may require a teacher to make reports to the principal.

    A teacher shall be given access to the information in the student information management system to expedite the process of preparing reports or otherwise providing information. A teacher shall not be required by the local board, the superintendent, or the principal to (i) provide information that is already available on the student information management system; (ii) provide the same written information more than once during a school year unless the information has changed during the ensuing period; or (iii) complete forms, for children with disabilities, that are not necessary to ensure compliance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Notwithstanding the forgoing, a local board may require information available on its student information management system or require the same information twice if the local board can demonstrate a compelling need and can demonstrate there is not a more expeditious manner of getting the information.

    Any teacher who knowingly and willfully makes or procures another to make any false report or records, requisitions, or payrolls, respecting daily attendance of pupils in the public schools, payroll data sheets, or other reports required to be made to any board or officer in the performance of their duties, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and the certificate of such person to teach in the public schools of North Carolina shall be revoked by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  8. To Take Care of School Buildings. - It shall be the duty of every teacher to instruct children in proper care of property and to exercise due care in the protection of school property, in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 115C-523. (1955, c. 1372, art. 17, ss. 4, 6; 1959, cc. 1016, 1294; 1969, c. 638, ss. 2, 3; 1971, c. 434; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985, c. 642; c. 686, s. 2; 1989, c. 585, s. 4; 1993, c. 539, s. 884; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1997-443, s. 8.29(k); 2000-67, s. 8.18(a).)


§ 115C-523.  Care of school property.

It shall be the duty of every teacher and principal in charge of school buildings to instruct the children in the proper care of public property, and it is their duty to exercise due care in the protection of school property against damage, either by defacement of the walls and doors or any breakage on the part of the pupils, and if they shall fail to exercise a reasonable care in the protection of property during the day, they may be held financially responsible for all such damage, and if the damage is due to carelessness or negligence on the part of the teachers or principal, the superintendent may hold those in charge of the building responsible for the damage, and if it is not repaired before the close of a term, a sufficient amount may be deducted from their final vouchers to repair the damage for which they are responsible.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the parents or legal guardians of any minor are liable for any gross negligence or willful damage or destruction of school property by that minor to the extent of five thousand dollars ($5,000). The Board of Education shall make written demand upon the parent or legal guardian as a prerequisite to bringing suit.

It shall be the duty of all principals to report immediately to their respective superintendents any unsanitary condition, damage to school property or needed repair. (1955, c. 1372, art. 17, s. 7; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985, c. 581, s. 4.)


§ 115C-524.  Repair of school property; use of buildings for other than school purposes.

  1. Repair of school buildings is subject to the provisions of G.S. 115C-521(c) and (d).
  2. It shall be the duty of local boards of education and tax-levying authorities, in order to safeguard the investment made in public schools, to keep all school buildings in good repair to the end that all public school property shall be taken care of and be at all times in proper condition for use. It shall be the duty of all principals, teachers, and janitors to report to their respective boards of education immediately any unsanitary condition, damage to school property, or needed repair. All principals, teachers, and janitors shall be held responsible for the safekeeping of the buildings during the school session and all breakage and damage shall be repaired by those responsible for same, and where any principal or teacher shall permit damage to the public school buildings by lack of proper discipline of pupils, such principal or teacher shall be held responsible for such damage: Provided, principals and teachers shall not be held responsible for damage that they could not have prevented by reasonable supervision in the performance of their duties.

Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 115C-263 and 115C-264, local boards of education may adopt rules and regulations under which they may enter into agreements permitting non-school groups to use school real and personal property, except for school buses, for other than school purposes so long as such use is consistent with the proper preservation and care of the public school property. No liability shall attach to any board of education, individually or collectively, for personal injury suffered by reason of the use of such school property pursuant to such agreements. (1955, c. 1372, art. 15, s. 9; 1957, c. 684; 1963, c. 253; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 975, s. 23; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 900, s. 79(a).)


§ 115C-525.  Fire prevention.

  1. Duty of Principal Regarding Fire Hazards. - The principal of every public school in the State shall have the following duties regarding fire hazards during periods when he is in control of a school:
    1. Every principal shall make certain that all corridors, halls, and tower stairways which are used for exits shall always be kept clear and that nothing shall be permitted to be stored or kept in corridors or halls, or in, on or under stairways that could in any way interfere with the orderly exodus of occupants. The principal shall make certain that all doors used for exits shall be kept in good working condition. During the occupancy of the building or any portion thereof by the public or for school purposes, the principal shall make certain that all doors necessary for prompt and orderly exodus of the occupants are kept unlocked.
    2. Every principal shall make certain that no electrical wiring shall be installed within any school building or structure or upon the premises and that no alteration or addition shall be made in any existing wiring, except with the authorization of the superintendent. Any such work shall be performed by a licensed electrical contractor, or by a maintenance electrician regularly employed by the board of education and approved by the Commissioner of Insurance.
    3. Every principal shall make certain that combustible materials necessary to the curriculum and for the operation of the school shall be stored in a safe and orderly manner.
    4. Every principal shall make certain that all supplies, such as oily rags, mops, etc., which may cause spontaneous combustion, shall be stored in an orderly manner in a well-ventilated place.
    5. Every principal shall make certain that all trash and rubbish shall be removed from the school building daily. No trash or rubbish shall be permitted to accumulate in a school attic, basement or other place on the premises.
    6. Every principal shall cooperate in every way with the authorized building inspector, electrical inspector, county fire marshal or other designated person making the inspections required by G.S. 115C-525(b).


    It shall further be the duty of the principal to bring to the attention of the local superintendent of schools the failure of the building inspector, electrical inspector, county fire marshal, or other person to make the inspections required by G.S. 115C-525(b). It shall further be the duty of the principal to call to the attention of the superintendent of schools all recommendations growing out of the inspections, in order that the proper authorities can take steps to bring about the necessary corrections.
  2. Inspection of Schools for Fire Hazards; Removal of Hazards. - Every public school building in the State shall be inspected a minimum of two times during the year in accordance with the following plan: Provided, that the periodic inspections herein required shall be at least 120 days apart:
    1. Each school building shall be inspected to make certain that none of the fire hazards enumerated in G.S. 115C-525(a)(1) through (5) exist, and to ensure that the building and all heating, mechanical, electrical, gas, and other equipment and appliances are properly installed and maintained in a safe and serviceable manner as prescribed by the North Carolina Building Code. Following each inspection, the persons making the inspection shall furnish to the principal of the school a written report of conditions found during inspection, upon forms furnished by the Commissioner of Insurance, and the persons making the inspection shall also furnish a copy of the report to the superintendent of schools; the superintendent shall keep such copy on file for a period of three years. In addition to the periodic inspections herein required, any alterations or additions to existing school buildings or to school building utilities or appliances shall be inspected immediately following completion.
    2. The board of county commissioners of each county shall designate the persons to make the inspections and reports required by subdivision (1) of this subsection. The board may designate any city or county building inspector, any city or county fire prevention bureau, any city or county electrical inspector, the county fire marshal, or any other qualified persons, but no person shall make any inspection unless he shall be qualified as required by G.S. 153A-351.1 and Section 7 of Chapter 531 of the 1977 Session Laws. Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting two or more counties from designating the same persons to make the inspections and reports required by subdivision (1) of this subsection. The board of county commissioners shall compensate or provide for the compensation of the persons designated to make all such inspections and reports. The board of county commissioners may make appropriations in the general fund of the county to meet the costs of such inspections, or in the alternative the board may add appropriations to the school current expense fund to meet the costs thereof: Provided, that if appropriations are added to the school current expense fund, such appropriations shall be in addition to and not in substitution of existing school current expense appropriations.
    3. It shall be the duty of the Commissioner of Insurance, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the State Board of Education to prescribe any additional rules and regulations which they may deem necessary in connection with such inspections and reports for the reduction of fire hazards and protection of life and property in public schools.
    4. It shall be the duty of each principal to make certain that all fire hazards called to his attention in the course of the inspections and reports required by subdivision (1) of this subsection are immediately removed or corrected, if such removal or correction can be accomplished by the principal. If such removal or correction cannot be accomplished by the principal, it shall be the duty of the principal to bring the matter to the attention of the superintendent.
    5. It shall be the duty of each superintendent of schools to make certain that all fire hazards called to his attention in the course of the inspections and reports required by subdivision (1) of this subsection and not removed or corrected by the principals as required by subdivision (4) of this subsection are removed or corrected, if such removal or correction can be brought about within the current appropriations available to the superintendent. Where any removal or correction of a hazard will require the expenditure of funds in excess of current appropriations, it shall be the duty of the superintendent to bring the matter to the attention of the appropriate board of education, and the board of education in turn shall bring the same to the attention of the board of county commissioners, in order that immediate steps be taken, within the framework of existing law, to remove or correct the hazard.
  3. Liability for Failure to Perform Duties Imposed by G.S. 115C-288 and 115C-525(a) or 115C-525(b). - Any person willfully failing to perform any of the duties imposed by G.S. 115C-288, 115C-525(a) or 115C-525(b) shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor and shall only be fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) in the discretion of the court. (1957, c. 844; 1959, c. 573, s. 14; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1989, c. 681, s. 12; 1993, c. 539, s. 892; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)


§ 115C-526.  Reward for information leading to arrest of persons damaging school property.

Local boards of education are authorized and empowered to offer and pay rewards in an amount not exceeding three hundred dollars ($300.00) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any persons who willfully deface, damage, destroy or commit acts of vandalism or larceny of, the property belonging to the public school system under the jurisdiction of and administered by any local board of education. (1967, c. 369; 1973, c. 1216; 1975, c. 437, s. 7; 1981, c. 423, s. 1.)


§ 115C-538.  Inspections of insured public school properties.

The State Board of Education shall provide for periodic inspections of all public school properties in the State of North Carolina insured under the provisions hereof, the said inspections for safety of buildings and particularly school buildings, against the loss or damage from fire and explosions. The inspections shall be the basis for offering such engineering advice as may be thought to be necessary to safeguard the children in the public schools from death and injury from school fires or explosions and to protect said school properties from loss, and the local boards of education shall be required so far as possible, and reasonable, to carry out and put into effect such recommendations in respect thereto as may be made by the State Board of Education. (1955, c. 1372, art. 16, s. 4; 1981, c. 423, s. 1.)


§ 115C-541.  Adjustment of losses; determination and report of appraisers; payment of amounts to treasurers of local school administrative units; disbursement of funds.

In the event of loss or damage by fire, lightning, windstorm, hail, or explosions resulting from defects in equipment in public school buildings and properties for the local school administrative units, the Fund shall pay the loss in the same proportion as the amount of insurance carried bore to the valuation of the property at the time it was insured, but not exceeding the amount which it would cost to repair or replace the property with material of like quality within a reasonable time after such loss, not in excess of the amount of insurance provided for said property, and not in excess of the amount of such loss which the Fund is required to pay in participation with fire insurance companies having policies of insurance in force on said properties at the time of the loss or damage, and the Fund shall not be liable for a greater proportion of any loss than the amount of insurance thereon shall bear to the whole insurance covering the property against the peril involved.

In the event of loss or damage by fire, lightning, windstorm, hail, or explosions resulting from defects in equipment in public school buildings and properties of the local school administrative units, to the property insured, when an agreement as to the extent of such loss or damage cannot be arrived at between the State Board of Education and the local officials having charge of the said property, the amount of such loss or damage shall be determined by three appraisers; one to be named by the State Board of Education, one by the local board of education having charge of the property, and the two so appointed shall select a third, all of whom shall be disinterested persons, and qualified from experience to appraise and value such property: Provided, however, if the appraisers appointed by the State Board of Education and the local board of education shall fail for 15 days to agree upon the third appraiser, then, on request of the State Board of Education or the local board of education having charge of the property, such third appraiser shall be selected by any regular resident superior court judge of the superior court district or set of districts as defined in G.S. 7A-41.1 in which the property is located. The appraisers so named shall file their written report with the State Board of Education and with the local board of education having such property in charge. The costs of the appraisal shall be paid by the Fund. Upon the determination of the loss by the appraisers, the State Board of Education shall pay the amount of such loss or damage to school property in the control of the local school administrative unit to its treasurer, upon proper warrant of the State Board of Education. Said funds shall be paid out by the treasurer of said units, as provided by this Chapter for the disbursement of the funds of such unit. (1955, c. 1372, art. 16, s. 7; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1037, s. 110.)


§ 115C-542.  Maintenance of inspection and engineering service; cancellation of insurance.

The State Board of Education is authorized and empowered to maintain an inspection and engineering service deemed by it appropriate and necessary to reduce the hazards of fire in public school buildings insured in the Fund as hereinbefore provided, and to expend for such purpose not in excess of ten percent (10%) of the annual premiums collected from the local school authorities. The State Board of Education is hereby authorized and empowered to cancel any insurance on any school property when, in its opinion, because of dilapidation and depreciation such property is no longer insurable. Before cancellation, the local board of education shall be given at least 30 days notice, and in the event said property can be restored to insurable condition, the State Board of Education may make such orders with respect to the continuance of such coverage as may be deemed proper: Provided, that the findings and results of the inspection of local school property by the agents of the Board shall be reported to local boards of education and to the board of county commissioners of such units as carry insurance with the State 30 days before budget-making time in order that all school property shall be properly taken care of and made safe from fire hazards. (1955, c. 1372, art. 16, s. 8; 1981, c. 423, s. 1.)