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Safety Law News for May 8th, 2019

• In Vermont, the Supreme Court ruled that educators were not liable after a student committed suicide as a result of being assaulted by his teammates on the school football team.  The court held that schools owe students a duty of ordinary care and could not be held liable for injuries that a reasonable person could not have foreseen or anticipated. The school's complete lack of notice of a pattern of hazing by team members was determinative. (Stopford v. Milton Town School District) • In Ohio, the United States Court of Appeals ruled that the use of a body sock on a special needs student who fell while in body sock, injuring his front teeth,  constituted a “seizure” for purposes of an excessive force claim.  Nevertheless, the court held that the teacher did not violate the rights of the student because the sock was designed specifically as a therapeutic tool and was not excessive under the circumstances.  (Crochran through Shields v. Columbus City Schools) • In Maine, the United States District Court ruled that a high school student would be allowed to pursue a federal law claim based on Title IX for peer-on-peer sexual harassment against school officials. The court held that the facts of the victim’s case fell within the scope of the law. A school is liable under Title IX when it does nothing to stop known incidents of harassment and assault. (Education Amendments of 1972 § 901, 20 U.S.C.A. § 1681(a).) (McCann on behalf of J.M. v. York School Department) • In New York, the Supreme Court held that a school did not breach the special duty owed to a student who was struck by an automobile while crossing the street leaving school.  The court ruled that the school could not be liable when an accident occurs so quickly that even the most intense supervision could not have prevented it.  The crossing guard told the student not to cross the street at the unsafe location and pointed student to the nearest crosswalk.  But the student crossed the street in the middle of the block where there was no intersection or crosswalk and no traffic device affording her right-of-way.  (K.A. v. City of New York) 

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