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Transcript of Law Presentation
and Negligence Charissa Smith
Sarah Palmer Duty of Care and Negligence Charissa's Case Gord's Case Sarah's Case Kate's Case Take Home Message When acting in their professional capacity, teachers act in the place of parents or 'in loco parentis'. This means that they have a duty to care for students under their supervision. Failure to provide this care may be perceived as negligence. The court cases for this topic help us define the limits to which we are held responsible for the students under our care. Brown v. Essex, 1990 Thornton v. Board of School Trustees of District 57 Williams v. Eady case (1893) Accused: Mr. Peter Kaija
Incident: Mr. Kaija dismissed a coach in the basketball program he
ran after hearing claims of the coach sexually harassing a player.
He did not inform the police or child protection services.
Charge: Mr. Kaija was accused of failure to report child abuse to a child protection services agency. For any student activity:
Provide accurate supervision
consider students age and training
make sure equipment is adequate and safe 13 year old Donald Brown's right eye was injured and permanently damaged when the needle on his sewing machine broke and one piece imbedded in his cornea. The needle was imbedded so deeply it needed to be removed with a strong electric magnet. This occurred when his material began to "bunch", causing the needle to sew thread on the same spot, resulting in a knot. Unable to pierce the fabric, the needle broke into three pieces. Questions: Was the injury to the eye foreseeable? Was the teacher negligent? Brown v. Essex Judge held that it was reasonable foreseeable that the needle could shatter and strike the user in the eye. The teacher should have warned the students of the dangers of bunching and was found to be negligent Student was found 10% contributorily negligent Student's damages awarded were $45 000, his mother received $7650, his father received $3600. Mary Scipione and the School Board were found jointly liable for each award of damages. Final Ruling 15 year old Gregory Myers
He tried a maneuver he had never done, he did not tell his spotter that he would be doing another maneuver
He broke his neck and became a quadriplegic Ontario Civil Court
Teacher found 80% responsible
Student 20% responsible
Ontario Court of Appeal
Dismissed the damages awarded to Myers Myers v. Peel Continued Supreme Court of Canada
They agreed with Ontario Civil Court
Damages were given back to Myers
Myers should have known enough to know that the maneuver he attempted was over his level.
The judge decided that the matting was inadequate
Had a teacher been present they may have avoided this accident
Important points to consider when using gymnastic equipment
Suitable for their age and condition
How much training to they have
is the equipment adequate
is it properly supervised Sara's Case Myers v. Peel County Board of Education Mr. Eady, a schoolmaster, left a bottle of phosphorus in the conservatory
A student found it and caused an explosion after mishandling it, burning another student
Eady said that he did not realize the phosphorus had been left in the conservatory
He was liable for leaving the phosphorus where students could access it R v. Kaija, 2006 Ruling: Mr. Kaija was found not guilty.
Key words: "...in the course of his or her professional duties."
It was determined Mr. Kaija was not acting within his professional duty at the time the information came forward.
Important Points to Remember:
-teachers are always seen as professionals in the eyes of most people.
-if this case happened in NB, Mr. Kaija likely would have been guilty under the Family Services Act and/or Policy 701 Kaija Case Outcome The Situation:
15 year old Gary Thornton paralyzed while attempting somersault
Configuration was non-traditional and unsafe (box horse + springboard)
Student overshot safety foam and shattered spinal column Danger Indicators:
1) Students were having difficulty performing the stunts
2) One student had already injured wrist Teachers needs to be diligent in making sure they cover all bases in giving students proper knowledge and direction to ensure their safety. Case List Kate
Williams v. Eady, 1893
Thornton v. Board of School Trustees of School District 57
Myers v. Peel County Board of Education, 1977
Brown v. Essex County Roman Catholic Separate School Board, 1990
R v. Kaija, 2006 Case Ruling: Williams v. Eady continued... Thornton v. School Board Trustees cont. Teacher's Responsibility?
Teacher attended to students, though with only partial attention
Edmura implemented some safety standards, but needed to recognize a poor configuration Attending to students is not enough; reasonable judgment and wisdom are needed. Even if you implement some safety practices, they must also be appropriate. Look for danger indicators and don't improvise on safety standards for dangerous activities! The judge said that whether or not the teacher was negligent depended on the severity of the situation (e.g. a parent leaving a knife out - negligent in some cases but not others
Case went to jury, who decided on the following:
Eady was negligent in his handling of the phosphorus
His negligence contributed to the injury
Eady had to pay damages of 75 pounds
Case was also upheld in the England Court of Appeal
Take Home Point
Eady should have been acting as a responsible parent and foreseen the possibility of an accident occurring with the availability of dangerous chemicals Teachers need to be aware of their professional responsibilities, even for non-school related duties