Can a teacher override a parent’s wishes with regard to a student’s hygiene?

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Can a teacher override a parent’s wishes with regard to a student’s hygiene?

Teacher feels shoes have an odor so she purchased shoes and socks and made child wash feet and put on the shoes she provided. This was done without the parents knowledge and when parent found out they met with principle that this was not to be done again. Teacher still made child go through routine the next day even though child came to school in the new shoes and socks teacher purchased. Can teacher override a parents wishes in this way.

Asked on July 21, 2011 Oregon

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

This is an interesting question. If hygiene is an issue in that it interrupts the learning process for that student or others in the class, it is arguable that the teacher could prevail. If the parent has met with the principal and the teacher, what occurred. If only the parent indicated this was not to be done again but the principal didn't necessarily agree, then you need to wonder if you were heard or if the school's policies on child safety, health and welfare trump your requests. You can consider speaking with the district superintendent and the school board but be prepared to defend your actions, especially if the initial trigger was indeed a validated hygiene issue.


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