duty schools and school boards have to keep our children (be they typical or challenged in some manner) safe during the school day.
In examining that issue we noted that the duty to keep students safe essentially comes from two difference sources; the Education Act and the duty of care at common law (which simply means judge-based law that is not found in legislation).
This means that in addition to the duty under the Education Act to take all reasonable steps necessary to create and maintain an orderly and safe learning environment and "attend to the health, safety and comfort of students", at common law, teachers and other educators are said to stand "in loco parentis" - meaning that they "stand in the place of parents". Thus, the duty imposed on educators is that of a "reasonably careful or prudent parent in the circumstances", a higher standard of care from normal negligence cases involving adult defendants - the educator must not just act as a reasonable person but as a "reasonably careful or prudent parent:".
Expanding a bit on our previous discussion, today I came across an interesting article written by an American "education expert" on this very topic. And while you might question the relevance of something written from the American perspective, the fact is that the common law duty applicable in the US is very similar (if not identical) to that in Nova Scotia. The reason being that although the legislation is often very different in the two countries, the US inherited its common law from Britain, just as we did.
In any event, the article examines the exact same legal issues we previously discussed (educators standing in loco parentis, the standard of the reasonable and prudent professional and the test of foreseeability) and then applies these principles to three different real-life fact situations where (typical) students were injured at school.
In two of the three cases, the schools were found liable for the student's injuries. Can you guess in advance which ones involved liability?
I am responsible. Although I may not be able to prevent the worst from happening, I am responsible for my attitude toward the inevitable misfortunes that darken life. Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.
~ Walter Anderson