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NYC must defend teachers who hit

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York City must defend school employees sued for hitting students even though the behavior violates rules, the state’s top court ruled Thursday.

The Court of Appeals concluded that a 1960 law requires paying legal fees for a teacher, administrator, or other school employee for actions “while in the discharge of his duties within the scope of his employment.” That is not limited to “proper and lawful discharge” of duties, and includes defense against criminal prosecution, the court said.

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The six judges said that law governs these cases despite a later measure that specifically prohibited defending city school workers for actions that violate their rules such as hitting students for misbehavior.

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