Health occupations (HO) teachers increasingly are required to defend their decisions in court to fail students or dismiss students from programs. Legal precedents have established several steps that HO teachers must take to protect students’ rights to both procedural and substantive due process. To justify their decisions to fail or dismiss a student, HO teachers need to take specific steps as they develop course objectives and evaluate the performance of unsatisfactory students. HO teachers often experience emotional discord when they fail or dismiss students. However, the HO teacher is bound by professional ethics to ensure that patients receive adequate care. To protect themselves and their institutions from the possibility of legal challenges, HO teachers should provide clear, unambiguous explanations of all policies, criteria, and time frames to which students are subject.



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