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					Academy Risks: Have We
 Forgotten the Basics?

  By: Geoffrey Hayton

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Academy Risks: Have We
 Forgotten the Basics?

    Principles of Supervision
 Risk Management Conference
        Detroit, Michigan
      September 13, 2010

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Adequate Supervision is Equally
  Important to all our Schools

Small Schools

K-12 Day Academies

Boarding Academies

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            Recent Survey
Parents #1 Concern About Schools is not
     Academics, but School Safety

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             School Safety

We think of:
• Playground equipment
• Perimeter or interior fencing
• Sidewalks/buildings
• Laboratory classrooms
• Sports activities

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       School Safety (cont.)

We think of:
• Bullying
• Internet issues (on and off campus)
• Supervision

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        School Supervision

• When preparing a school budget how
  much consideration is given to supervision
  of the students?
• Unfortunately, inadequate funding often
  leads to a lack of supervision which can
  further lead to serious injuries

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 “When I was growing up, no one wore
bicycle helmets, but what was considered
responsible supervision 20 years ago may
   well be considered reckless today.”

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    Legal Theory: Negligence

Liability with respect to schools and school
  employees is generally based on the legal
  theory of negligence.

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4 Elements Must be Present for
     Negligence to Occur
• Legal duty to protect students from
  unreasonable risks
• Breach by not exercising a reasonable
  standard of care
• Causal connection between breach and
• Actual physical or mental injury resulting
  from negligence
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               Legal Duty

• Courts hold that a duty of care arises
  simply based on the relationship between
• Teacher-pupil relationship has “special
  characteristics” which separate it from the

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          Legal Duty (cont.)

• Duty owed is greater because of the
  nature of the relationship between teacher
  and pupil
• A teacher’s duty is non-delegable

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  Connection Between Breach
          and Injury
• A reasonable person would have to
  consider a substantial factor contributed to
  the harm
• Substantial factor = “but for “ test
• “But for” the lack of supervision there
  would be no injury

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     Physical or Mental Injury

• Damages have to be proven before
  compensation is awarded
• Injury must be medically documented
• Documentation does not necessarily come
  from a medical doctor

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            Breach of Duty

• Breach of duty is not exercising a
  reasonable “standard of care”
• Schools have a duty to “adequately”
  supervise students in their charge
• Schools are subject to liability for
  “foreseeable” injuries proximately related
  to the absence of adequate supervision

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    When does the Legal Duty of
    Supervision Start and When
           does it End?

•   During normal school hours
•   Playground supervision
•   Field trips or school tours
•   Boarding Schools: 24-7

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             What About?

• Before school hours?
• After school hours?
• Students whose parents drop students
  early or pick them up late?
• Field trips that include an “inherently
  dangerous” activity, i.e. snowboarding or
  skiing, wakeboarding, rock climbing?

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          Small Schools
     (multi-grade classrooms)
• Is there an aid in the classroom?
• Is there supervision if the teacher needs to
  go to the restroom?
• What is the teacher/student ratio for a
  teacher supervising recess?

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       Day K-12 Academies

• Does the school have an open/closed
  campus policy?
• Does the school have a sign in/out policy?
• Does a student ever have the opportunity
  to be alone with a teacher?
• Does the school know which students walk
  or ride their bikes to and from school?

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        Boarding Academies

• Supervision is 24-7
• Do day students attend?
• Is there a different standard for day and
  boarding students?
• Are day students allowed in the dorms?
• Are students allowed in faculty homes?

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  Boarding Academies (cont.)

• Are faculty children allowed in dorms?
• Are adult faculty children who live on
  campus monitored?

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