The Liability of School Boards

Written by: Rachel Levitsky

When your children go to school, you are putting someone else in charge of their safety. Whether it is in class or on the playground, children need to be supervised in a competent manner in order to prevent them from falling into harm's way.

If your child is injured at school, what standard do we hold school staff to in their supervisory roles? When has a school employee breached that standard?

The Standard of Care

The standard of care that the school's employees must adhere to is that of a careful or prudent parent. In Myers v. Peel County Board of Education, [1981] S.C.R. 21, a 15-year-old boy was injured during gymnastics class. The court found that although a teacher must act as a careful or prudent parent, that standard will change on a case-by-case basis depending on a number of factors; for example, the age of the children, the nature of activities they are participating in, and the number of students being supervised.

Kids will be Kids

In some court cases, it has been found that a school employee has not been negligent where a child has injured him or herself, even while under the care of the school. In Rollins (Litigation Guardian of) v. English Language Separate District School Board, [2012] O.N.C.A. 104, a child was swinging a pair of rollerblades and accidentally hit a girl in the head. Although this child was under the care and supervision of the school at the time, the court found that there was no negligence on the part of the supervisor. The court stated that the event was so quick that it could have reasonably gone unnoticed by the staff, and therefore the school did not breach its duty of care.

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