School Liability

An email sent to me by John Foss regarding School liability in a fire eating at
school case:

> 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

went wrong.

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

they want.

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!

jf

Re: School Liability

>At this stage, Australia is not the litigation society that the US has
>turned into.

Hi Nic,

You may want to check out the amount of cases that actually go through courts in
Australia. A discussion with a legal advisor a few years ago made me realise
that, per capita, Australia has the third highest rate of litigation cases in
the world (marginally lower than Canada and the USA I think).

I have taken out a $10 million dollar public liability insurance in case I am
sued as a result of performing or conducting workshops.

The insurance does not cost too much for the protection that it gives me. Shop
around though as there are agents who specialise in things like this and their
prices are much more agreeable that those of larger companies who aim for the
mass market and pump the prices of anything a little bit out of the ordinary.

Wayne van Wijk

Re: School Liability

I am on the committee of the juggling club at UWA. Apparently because we are not
an incorporated society the executive of the committee will be held liable if
anything goes wrong at a club event. This means that if somebody hurt themself
while riding our unicycles, they might be able to sue me. At this stage,
Australia is not the litigation society that the US has turned into. The
uni(versity) has a large insurance policy which our club sort of piggy backs,
meaning that the university would probably be sued, but the individual liability
(i.e. ability to sue me) is still there. Crazy.

oh well, that’s what you get for having lawyers in a world.

nic

At 21:34 27/03/99 GMT, you wrote:
>An email sent to me by John Foss regarding School liability in a fire eating at
>school case:
>
>> 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
>
>went wrong.
>
>
>
>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
>
>they want.
>
>
>
>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!
>
>
>
>jf
>