Week parents can sue, and this would fall
3 Case Study
School of Law
Liability and Playground Supervision
“Three elementary school teachers are assigned
to supervise the children who are playing on the playground. There are
approximately a hundred children engaged in a number of playground activities.
Because these teachers do not have much opportunity to chat with each other
during the school day, all of them decide to bring chairs to the playground and
engage in conversation while observing the children. During this time, one
child sustains a serious injury when he is struck by a rock thrown by another
student.” (Essex, 2016, pg. 184)
What is the legal issue in this situation?
The legal issue in this situation would be rather or not the
injury the student obtained could have been prevented, and was due to the
negligence of the teachers. In this situation the parents can sue, and this
would fall under unintentional tort (Essex, 2016, pg.68).The teachers were
required to monitor students on the playground and the due to the lack of
supervision the student was hurt. They must also prove that the teachers had a
breach of duty which is determined based on the nature of the supervision that
was required of the teachers. (Essex, 2016, pg.168). Also, the proximity cause,
which is the relationship between the breach of duty and the sustained injury,
must be proven in the court of law. (Essex, 2016, pg.168) Under loco parentis, the teachers are to
assume three responsibilities. That is “instruct, supervise, and provide a safe
place for students”. (Essex, 2016, pg. 157). The legal issue in question would
be if the teachers really did do their responsibility under loco parentis.
What factors will determine liability?
The plantiff must prove that the teachers had a breach of duty
which is determined based on the nature of the supervision that was required of
the teachers. (Essex, 2016, pg.168). Also, the proximity cause, which is the
relationship between the breach of duty and the sustained injury, must be
proven in the court of law. (Essex, 2016, pg.168). This will determine if the teachers were
liable for the injury obtained.
Can all three teachers be held liable? Why or why not?
In this situation all the teachers would not be held liable unless
the teachers saw the students throwing rocks before the other student was
injured and ignored it. The teachers cannot be responsible for the act of
another student, unless they had already knew that that act would happen. The
teachers were talking during their duty time, but that does not prove that they
were not watching the students while they were talking.
How do you think the court will rule in this case? Give a
rationale for your response.
I think that the courts will rule in favor of the teachers. It is
unfortunate that the student was injured, but the teacher could not prevent
another student from throwing a rock, and hitting the student. Based off the
information we were given, it was not said that the student had been throwing
rocks, or that there was any proof that the teachers were aware of any problem.
Even though the teacher may have had a breach of duty, it cannot be proven the
proximate cause, the relationship of the breach of duty to the injury. (Essex.
Develop a set of guidelines regarding playground supervision.
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention),
approximately 200,000 children under the age of 14 obtain an injury on the
playground. (CDC, 2012).Around 45% of playground-related injuries are internal
injuries, dislocations, amputations, concussions, and dislocations. (Tinsworth
The following guidelines should be in place regarding playground
Student to teacher ratio should be based on grade level, and
should be no higher than 5 more students added to the normal classroom size.
Students should have a section of the playground that they are
assigned to monitor, and one teacher should be circling the playground at all
Teachers should keep a first aid kit outside when on recess
duty, and a walkie-takie/ cellphone in case of serious emergencies.
Teachers should keep count of all students on the playground.
The following guidelines should be in place
No throwing objects (rocks, mulch, etc)
No walking up the slide
No jumping off the swings
No tackling/ horse playing
Do not take off your shoes
Do not jump off the swings
Make sure you keep your hands and feet to yourself
N. (2016). School law and the public
schools: a practical guide for educational leadership. Pearson.
Injuries: Fact Shee. (2012, March 29). Retrieved January 28, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/playground-injuries/playgroundinjuries-factsheet.htm
Tinsworth, D. (2001) Special studies: injuries and deaths
associated with children’s playground equipment. US Consumer Product Safety