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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Introduction “Can My Child Care Program Be Sued?” If you have ever asked yourself this question, you are not alone. The threat of being sued strikes fear into the hearts of adminis- trators, directors, owners, board members, and teachers in early child- hood programs. Few program directors can afford an attorney; fewer administrators have legal backgrounds. Nonetheless, as educators, you make daily decisions with legal ramifications. You may be called upon to make snap judgments with potential serious legal consequences in situations like these: • Baby Elisha’s dad careens into the program, appearing intoxicated, insisting he will drive his baby home. • Iraqi War veteran Andrew, interviewing for infant room teacher, shrugs off his coat, revealing he has one arm. • Teachers’ aides who posted a provocative video of themselves on YouTube insist they are exercising their First Amendment rights. • The Park family wants to include their 12-year-old daughter, Jin Hee, on the Authorized List for picking up their toddlers. • Lead teacher Roderick’s classroom performance is excellent, but his gossiping and negativity are destructive. • Teacher Gertrude’s pungent body odor interferes with her job performance. Worrying about being sued can interfere with your professional judgment, making decisions harder. This book can help you do the following: • Prevent and manage problems with legal consequences • Reduce the risk of a lawsuit • If your program is sued, assist in preparing a strong defense xiii COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL