Duty of Care Extends Past the School Gates
The RMB Compensation Division how far a school’s duty of care to its pupils extends.
A school’s duty of care goes well beyond the general duty of care that say a supermarket has for its customers.
The Courts consider that a school’s duty of care is significantly greater than the usual duty, and takes into account the immaturity and inexperience of the pupils and their propensity for mischief.
The Courts have ruled that these inherent features of every child suggest that there should be a high responsibility on a school authority to care for the safety of its students. That higher duty of care requires a school to take all reasonable care to provide an adequate system to ensure that no child is exposed to any unnecessary risk of injury.
Schools are not only simply required to take all reasonable care, but they must also have a system in place which would ensure that no child is exposed to any unnecessary risk of injury; and to take all reasonable care to see that the system is carried out.
The duty of care gets further extended where there are attractions or features in a play ground which might lure children towards obvious hazards. Examples here might include the typical monkey bar apparatus and injuries that might result from children being children on such equipment.
One earlier important Court judgement said the degree of supervision needed must be such as to avoid external dangers which might threaten immature children and also prevent them from inflicting injury on each other.
The duty of care of a school is said to be non-delegable which means the school cannot pass its responsibilities off to another person or entity such as by hiring external supervisors for children during school hours.
The school’s duty of care doesn’t stop in the school gate either. Examples include excursions. In one case, the Court decided that a school was still responsible for an incident which occurred while a student was skiing. In that case the school counter-sued the ski resort and recovered all of its losses, but the school was still held responsible for the student’s injuries.
Some might consider the burden of the duty of schools to be too high, but when the inherent qualities of adventurous or mischievous children are considered, it is probably prudent of our Courts to create such a high duty of care.