An email sent to me by John Foss regarding School liability in a fire eating at
> When the originally taught the students he had it cleared all
> the way through
> the superintendent of schools and had waivers signed by all
> parents of the
> students involved.
Amazing. And this is recent? Not in the 70’s or earlier? Fire eating in a
school just sounds so outrageous to me. Almost everyone I know who is a fire
eater will not teach others.
> When the studented burned himself, he not only didn’t have
> permission but he
> was strictly told not to do it. under those circumstances.
That’s the scary thing though. I remember back in the mid-80’s, when
liability insurance for schools was going thru the roof. One day we were at
Walt Whitman High School in Huntington, NY, where at an after school P.E.
faculty meeting it was announced that the school could no longer afford
liability insurance (for sports? P.E.? don’t know the details) and was going
to do without. One teacher retired on the spot and another one quit. They
realized they faced the possibility of being sued personally if something
This is because of cases like this:
At Clarke High School in Westbury, NY, home of Bill Jenack and the National
Circus Project, a girl was injured on the uneven parallel bars. She was
attempting a dismount, unsupervised, and without permission (in fact with
specific non-permission to try it). She received some neck or spinal injury.
The school was sued for $70 million. Due to the fact that two mats were
improperly overlapped at the opposite corner of the apparatus from where
the girl landed, they had a case. Her "future career as a gymnast or dancer
was ruined." (she was not permanently damaged, and in fact was walking
without crutches only a few months later). The final award was $17 million,
some sort of record at the time.
This girl was a minor, so could not be responsible for her actions in a
legal sense. The school and the individuals who work there take the heat.
If that one wasn’t ridiculous enough, how about this:
I was talking with the principal of an elementary school in Oceanside, NY at
UNICON II. He was telling me of two kids who trespassed on school grounds
late one night and climbed onto the roof of the school. They found their way
up on top of the gym, and one of them managed to fall through a skylight up
there and fall to his death on the gym floor. Can you believe the school is
liable for that? Apparently the wrongdoing of the kids is irrelevant; the
school is supposed to prevent such things from happening. An obvious hole in
our legal system, into which many fun activities fall.
> The problem was not the teacher it was one immature kid (not
> really “kid” it
> is high school) that didn’t follow directions or get proper
> clearance from the administration.
The problem is the legal system. Under age 18, the kid is a kid and legally
it’s very different.
Remember when schools used to have trampolines? They were the first to go.
Sure they’re dangerous, but people should be able to make the decision
(parents) and sign waivers to allow their kids to do dangerous things if
Anyway, that’s why it’s hard to get a gym to practice in, especially at
schools. Colleges, as Tammy Marsh pointed out, are much more lenient,
partially because the students are not kids, and can be held liable for
their own actions to a greater degree.
If you thought this was interesting, feel free to copy it to the ng. I
didn’t because you wrote directly to me.
Good luck retaining your permission to do whatever fun stuff you do where
you do it!