Texas School District Liability in Pupil Transportation: A Legal Analysis of the Texas Tort Claims Act and Sovereign Immunity

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Spring 2015


This qualitative case study examines the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code, the Texas Tort Claims Act, and sovereign immunity in Texas public schools, primarily pertaining to the operation and function of school buses. This study investigates court rulings and provides a legal analysis of relevant case law and the implications on the Texas Tort Claims Act and sovereign immunity in Texas independent school districts, with specific research directed towards pupil transportation. To provide an initial understanding of the law, the terms civil law, tort liability, and negligence are defined. Also identified are the professional employee and the motor driven vehicle exception, as this directly affects student transportation services for public school districts in the context of this research. This research provides a summarized background of relevant information pertaining to the aforementioned topics along with an overview of selected case law that supports and interprets the law. This qualitative case study concludes with a legal analysis and discussion of the identified case law, dissention with specific cases, and an overview of how the selected case law directly affects pupil transportation for Texas public school districts. Recommendations for future research include school district administrator knowledge of the Texas Tort Claims Act and sovereign immunity in school bus transportation, a comparison of Texas immunity to the federal statutes, identifying remedies for these lawsuits, policy revisions, and cost to the districts and professional employees for the litigation.


Melissa Arrambide

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership