In the wake of Eisel, few commentaries have been written about the legal significance of student suicide. Although providing broad practical advice and limited case law analysis, the professional literature lacks a comprehensive and systematic analysis of Eisel's common-law and constitutional tort effects. To fill this gap and address this question in terms of common law and constitutional liability, this Article is organized as follows. Part II provides a brief overview of the common law regarding liability for another's suicide and shows that courts have generally disfavored this cause of action. Section III examines the Eisel decision in detail. Part III(A) traces the post-Eisel decisions that took the same common-law path to possible liability. Part III(B) analyzes why public educators do not need to be overly concerned with common-law liability for student suicides. Part IV examines the post-Eisel decisions that proceeded down the alternate path of an alleged constitutional tort. Part V examines the Armijo v. Wagon Mound Public School decision and demonstrates that the court established the possibility of § 1983 liability on the part of school officials in the wake of student suicide. Part V.A examines the pre- and post-Armijo cases addressing student suicide. Part V.B analyzes the unlikely probability of success under a § 1983 claim against school officials. Part VI provides a brief conclusion that educators have little to fear with regard to liability for a student's suicide.
Richard Fossey & Perry A. Zirkel,
Liability for Student Suicide in the Wake of Eisel,
Tex. Wesleyan L. Rev.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.37419/TWLR.V10.I2.5