ERIC Number: EJ919359
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Reference Count: 3
Do Schools Owe a Special Duty of Care to "Special-Needs" Students?
Fossey, Richard; Russo, Charles J.
School Business Affairs, v75 n8 p34-37 Sep 2009
Schools officials owe a duty of care to all the students in their custody. An emerging, but not unanimous, judicial consensus seems to agree that school board officials have a greater legal duty when supervising students with disabilities. A case on this important issue arose in "Jennifer C. v. Los Angeles Unified School District" (2008), wherein an appellate court in California ruled that school board officials had the duty to protect a middle school student with "special needs" from an assault that occurred in an out-of-the-way alcove under a stairway at her school. The court rejected the board's argument that this tragic event was unforeseeable because such an assault had never before happened on the school's grounds. The "Jennifer C." case highlights significant safety and liability issues for school business officials, other education leaders, and their school boards. Education leaders must ensure that isolated areas on school campuses are closely monitored or firmly secured. The fact that schools may not have histories of assaults in specific locations does not mean that educators have no duty to take reasonable precautions to prevent isolated spots on school grounds from becoming the scene of a crime. School business officials and other education officials must be ever mindful of the need to ensure the safety of all children, paying particular attention to the special needs of students with disabilities.
Descriptors: School Business Officials, Legal Responsibility, Campuses, Safety, Interior Space, Special Needs Students, Sexual Abuse, Court Litigation, Boards of Education
Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). 11401 North Shore Drive, Reston, VA 20190. Tel: 866-682-2729; Fax: 703-478-0205; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.asbointl.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California