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Old 02-02-2010, 08:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Who is responsible - the kid or the school?

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I heard this on the radio this morning, but haven't been able to find an article on the webernet about it.

A 17 year old kid was at school and decided to leave (reason unknown, possibly to cut class) during the day. From what I remember hearing the radio he left school premises (without permission) in his own vehicle and was, tragically, killed in an auto accident on the highway that is near the school.

The parents are suing the school for not keeping him in class.

Who is responsible in this case? I heard my son call into the radio station this morning and say that the school was responsible (kinda suprised me to hear his voice!). However, I'm not so sure I agree.

On the one hand, the school is responsible for the kids while they are at school, but should the security guards/teachers have physically restrained him (if they saw him leave) to keep him in class?

No idea if this kid (RIP) was a habitual 'skipper' or not. Would that make a difference?

What are your thoughts?
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The kid is responsible. It's not a prison, it's a school.

Which way does the barbed wire on the surrounding school fence face, inward or outward?
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The kid is completely responsible, though I'm sure techman1 would try to argue otherwise.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If the school was taking all reasonable security measures that were within their ability and budget, and the kid still got out, then the fault is 100% with the kid.

If, however, they sat around with the doors propped open and were not in the habit of questioning students who were wandering around between classes without a pass, or if there were guards or other adults who saw him leave and took no action, then the parents probably have a case (even though it would still be the kid's fault).
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The kid is responsible. If your child cannot be contained, either by his parents or the school, he brought on his own fate.

I've seen kids skip class before and when teachers try to stop them, I've seen them just walk off and ignore them. It is not a teachers responsibility to physically restrain a teenager and make them stay in class, if it was, I'm sure they would lock the doors and not let them out until 3pm.

Those parents are either too greif stricken that they are just looking for someone to blame, or it's a cash grab which would be disgusting.

If anyone votes that it's the schools responsiblity, I'd like to hear their justifications as to why.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The child and the parents are responsible, IMHO. I can see the school also being somewhat accountable, but if the child just decided to walk out, get in his/her car and leave, I can't see that really being the school's fault.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubdub View Post
The child and the parents are responsible, IMHO. I can see the school also being somewhat accountable, but if the child just decided to walk out, get in his/her car and leave, I can't see that really being the school's fault.
100 % right, the child and the parents. Not the school, Parents do not take responsibility for there children anymore in this day and age. This is the major problem with them today. You gave birth to them, not the school or anyone else for that matter.
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathrynhr View Post
or if there were guards or other adults who saw him leave and took no action, then the parents probably have a case (even though it would still be the kid's fault).
"Took no action"?

What, like physically restrain the child? Handcuffs, chains?
Does the school not have in place a shoot-to-kill policy? Shoot-to-maim?

What do we expect?
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I believe this is the story: Parents Sue School After Son Cuts Class, Dies In Crash - Pittsburgh News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:12 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Yep, that appears to be it.

I agree that the child is responsbile for his own actions.

Let's say that a child cuts class and is found to be somewhere on school grounds. S/he knows he was supposed to be in class at the time. Who receives the punishment for cutting class? Not the pricipal, not the teacher, but the student. The student broke the rules so the student receives the punishment.

Who did the parents blame when their kid didn't pick up his room or didn't do the dishes when they asked him to? Did they blame themselves (not likely) or did they blame the kid (and possibly punish him)?
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:26 AM   #11 (permalink)
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And when we say child, we have to keep in mind this is someone who is 17 years old, not a 10 year old who wandered off.

I think at that age, the parents must have some ownership in their own parenting abilities as well as their kid's ability to follow the rules.
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:27 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
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And when we say child, we have to keep in mind this is someone who is 17 years old, not a 10 year old who wandered off.
Exactly. I think this would be a slightly different discussion with a child of a younger age.

Especially if they jacked a car
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:39 AM   #13 (permalink)
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The kid and his parents are the likely ones to be responsible.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSanders View Post
"Took no action"?

What, like physically restrain the child? Handcuffs, chains?
Does the school not have in place a shoot-to-kill policy? Shoot-to-maim?

What do we expect?
I mean, legally.

If a parent is forced by law to surrender their underage child to a third party, and the child - either because of something he does or because of negligence by the guardian - harms or kills himself, where is the legal liability?

If a school hires guards, what are their responsibilities? If a school places supposed safeguards in place against things like cutting class, how are they enforced and does the public have an expectation that the money being spent on those safeguards is being used in an effective manner?

I don't know the answers to these questions but I suspect these are the legal issues being canvassed.

THAT was my material point.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:22 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Also, I expect that if a near-adult child wandered out of school, that a guard who witnessed it and verbally confronted the child would call the police if the child did not comply. Nearly all states have truancy laws.
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Old 02-02-2010, 01:23 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Legally? At 17 the kid is not required to be in a school.

The parents need to own up to their responsibility.

And our schools shouldn't need guards.

Well, I guess they do need guards to protect the kids and teachers from the sort of person or family that thinks the school should be held liable for their own bad parenting and/or kids' lack of good judgment.
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Old 02-02-2010, 01:29 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Legally? At 17 the kid is not required to be in a school.
While I do agree the child is at fault in this and not the school. In PA (where this incident took place), you must attend school until the age of 18. Unless you're at least 16 and have a job during school hours, then you need an employment certificate/working papers from the school district.

http://www.elc-pa.org/pubs/downloads...e%202-6-09.pdf
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Old 02-02-2010, 01:43 PM   #18 (permalink)
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ah, that does vary state by state.
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Old 02-02-2010, 01:58 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsconyers View Post
In PA (where this incident took place), you must attend school until the age of 18.
In addition to that, in some places here in Ohio, when children are habitually truant their parents can be sent to jail for up to 6 months:

Parents Could Face Charges For Truant Children | WBNS-10TV, Central Ohio News

So - assuming you don't/can't homeschool - IF your child must leave your home to go to school until the age of 18 whether you/he want that to happen or not; and IF you as a parent have done your due diligence by making sure your child actually got to school; and IF your child comes by an accident during the hours when he's supposed to be in the school's care whether by his own volition or not, where is the LEGAL liability?

If this were a 10-year-old, we would not be having this conversation. The line in the sand, in this case at least, is 18.

I believe the parents probably have a legal case.
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Old 02-02-2010, 02:10 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathrynhr View Post

So - assuming you don't/can't homeschool - IF your child must leave your home to go to school until the age of 18 whether you/he want that to happen or not; and IF you as a parent have done your due diligence by making sure your child actually got to school; and IF your child comes by an accident during the hours when he's supposed to be in the school's care whether by his own volition or not, where is the LEGAL liability?

If this were a 10-year-old, we would not be having this conversation. The line in the sand, in this case at least, is 18.

I believe the parents probably have a legal case.
I believe you're correct that they may have a legal case. However, what does anyone learn from this? Where does personal accountability for yourself go from here? If they do indeed deem the school as responsible, when it was the child's choice to leave school, what lesson does that teach other kids of his age or younger?

At 17, I am sure the student knew his way around the school and ways to get out without getting caught if he wanted too. I think it would be nearly impossible for a handful of guards to keep track of hundreds of students at all times. I understand it is their job, but realistically, if the kid wanted out, he would have sneaked out.

How many of us sneaked out of our house one time or another when our parents told us we couldn't go somewhere, but we did it anyway because we thought we wouldn't get caught. I know I was guilty of that as a child. When I was caught, I was held accountable for my actions and I learned my lesson.

As I stated above, I think Kathryn is correct in a legal sense, however, I think it sends the wrong message to punish the school for the student's actions.
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