Safety Law News for August 15, 2019
In New York, the Court of Appeal held that a student who was assaulted on campus is entitled to records of all assaults that occurred on school grounds to help her case. The court reasoned that in determining whether the duty of a school to provide a safe campus is breached in the context of injuries caused by the acts of fellow students, it must be established that school authorities had sufficiently specific knowledge or notice of the dangerous conduct which caused injury; that is, that the student misconduct could reasonably have been anticipated. (M.C. v. City of New York) In Louisiana, the Louisiana Court of Appeal held that a school was liable for an older student's actions when he sexually abused a younger student on a school bus. The evidence showed that school officials were aware of the recurring behavior of the student, but did not intervene properly and did not follow their policy of reporting the incidents to police or child protection agencies. The court ruled that the school board had a duty to protect its students and that liability is appropriate when the risk of injury is foreseeable and preventable if a requisite degree of supervision had been exercised. (Pike v. Calcasieu Parish School Board) In New York, the New York Supreme Court held that a school was not liable for the death of a student after he was struck by a train in an apparent suicide. Parents for the victim alleged that the school district was indifferent to bullying and harassment from other students. The court disagreed because the death occurred after school hours and off school premises, the school district did not have control over the victim, and school officials were not on notice of the possibility of the suicide nor were under a distinct duty to guard against it. (Collazo v. Hicksville Union Free School District) In Missouri, officials from the Ferguson-Florissant School District are implementing a policy that will require students to transport books, binders, and calculators into clear backpacks as part of an attempt to eliminate the weapons that have ended up on their campuses.