The Line Between Discipline and Abuse in the Classroom

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jun 27, 2023 | 0 Comments

Across the country, teachers are facing an unprecedented level of stress and burnout. Those stressors are leading to a mass exodus of teachers. As reported in the New York Times, many are deciding to leave the profession altogether. Those who are continuing on, however, are often finding themselves in overcrowded classrooms with unmotivated students.

As a teacher, you know that discipline, when applied appropriately and justly, can help you keep your classroom in order. It can help your students focus, cooperate, and, ultimately, learn the vital information required for them to progress to the next level. But many parents may not understand what is required to run a successful classroom, especially in today's chaotic school climate. Far too many teachers are finding themselves accused of abuse for merely trying to discipline students.

The Line Between Discipline and Abuse

As you are likely aware, the state of Pennsylvania has a law against the use of corporal punishment in public schools. 22 Pa. Code § clearly states that corporal punishment, or physically punishing a student for failing to follow directions or school policy, is prohibited. That said, the same regulation also gives exceptions to the rule. The code holds that teachers, administrators, and other school authorities may use “reasonable force” to quell a disturbance, for the purpose of self-defense, to take possession of weapons or other dangerous objects or for the protection of persons or property. You may notice the wording is fairly vague. After all, what kind of disturbance merits a “reasonable force” response? What kind of force is “reasonable”?

You became a teacher to inspire students – and help them reach their full potential. If you are facing an allegation of abuse for a disciplinary action, it's important to understand that your ability to define “reasonable” and explain the circumstances behind your actions is paramount. This is why retaining a trusted and experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney is so important. They can help you mount a strong defense – and show why your actions remain inside the law.

A Trusted Advocate

If you have been accused of abuse in the classroom, you may be angry, frustrated, or even just full of disbelief. You may think it's something that will blow over on its own – certainly, your school and your colleagues will go to bat for you. But you shouldn't leave anything to chance. When you engage Joseph D. Lento and his Criminal Defense Team, you can rest assured that you have a strong advocate on your side. They will ensure that the authorities are aware of any mitigating circumstances – and why your actions fall into the “reasonable force” exceptions.

Joseph D. Lento and his Criminal Defense Team understand how the classroom has changed over the past few years – and the incredible stresses that today's educators face on the job. They will stand by you during the entire investigation process – and make sure your rights are protected every step of the way.

If you are facing an allegation of classroom abuse, contact Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm immediately to discuss your case – at (888) 535-3686 today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.