Duty of Care and What It Means to Your Children
Suppose your child is hurt at school. Is it “just an unavoidable accident” or was your child’s school negligent in executing their “duty of care” as required by law?
Schools owe a duty of “care” to their students who are either at school or engaged in school activities. All schools are required to meet this duty. In plain English, it means that schools are required to adequately supervise their students and enforce rules that promote student safety and prevent debilitating or fatal injuries.
The WA Department of Education is a great source for information. They have drafted a policy that their legal team has determined that will protect them from liability. Teachers and all supervisory staff are required to follow the WA Department of Education’s guidelines in providing sufficient care for their students.
According to the Department of Education, teachers and staff “owe a duty” to maintain an environment of reasonable care and safety for any student who is either engaging in school activities or at school to engage in school activities. Teachers and staff are responsible for providing “reasonable” measures that protect students from risks or exposure to harm that are “foreseeable.”
According to the Department of Education, this not only includes “known hazards.” This duty also includes protecting your child from “harm that could foreseeably arise and against which preventative measures can be taken.”
Teachers and staff are also required to exercise “professional judgment” to ensure “balance” which ensures that students maximise learning opportunities without facing undue risk of harm. This balance is supposed to “encourage students’ independence.” Not only are teachers required to adhere to these policies, but so are third party providers, volunteers and non-teaching staff.
While the policy sounds straightforward, there is a lot of room for interpretation. In many cases, too much room.
Call the Professionals
Was your child injured at school? Do you think the school may have failed in their duty of care? If they did fail, you may be eligible to be compensated for your child’s pain, suffering and loss of “quality of life.” If there is any question in your mind that your child’s school may be at fault for a personal injury, call our compensation lawyers today for a consultation: 1300 738 303.