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Running head: Tort and liability 1

Tort and Liability

Adrienne Plummer

College of Southern Nevada


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Tort and Liability

In this case study, a middle school student is suspended because of unexcused absences,

and subsequently shot the day after, while at a friends house. There was a failure to follow

specified procedure in how to notify the students parents, accordingly, of the suspension. Ray

Knight failed to give his parents the only notification given to him by the school. The arguments

to be addressed are whether, or not, the parents can pursue damages against the school, and the

grounds for such attempts.

Knight voluntarily threw away the notice of suspension given to him by the school

officials. He did not report his punishment to his parents about being suspended, and decided to

try and get away with a few free days of not being at school; thus being without adult

supervision. This seems to imply that he was fully aware that his actions were inappropriate.

Although he is a younger student, A partys youth is taken into consideration when judging

whether or not he knew or should have known of the danger, but it does not excuse his

embarking on a course of knowingly dangerous conduct (Nikkela v. Neimi, 1967). Also

relevant, is the reason for his suspensionthat of unexcused absences. This supports the

assumption of a purposefully delinquent student, who may be having behavioral issues.

Another relevant case involves the deaths of three teenage students. The students were

participating in a school camp event and snuck out to play on the river in the middle of the night.

They drowned, but the decision of the courts was, That teenagers may behave in [a] manner

exposing themselves and others to injury [but that] is legally insufficient to support [a] claim of

willful and wanton misconduct [by the school] in absence of specific, foreseeable, and probable

danger (Choice v. YMCA of McHenry County, 2012). It is terrible that Knight was shot, but he
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knowingly took on the risk of injury, by not staying at home while suspended, failing to alert his

guardians of the suspension, and by behaving recklessly in lieu of it.

In his defense, as seen in Brownell v. Los Angeles Unified School District (1992), A

school district may be held liable for injuries to a student occurring off school premises, if the

occurrence is a reasonably foreseeable result of the conduct of school personnel on the school

premises. Due to a lack of procedure, Ray Knights guardians were not notified in the required

mannerin this case, by telephone and prompt written notice by mail. As stated earlier, because

of the implication of behavioral misconduct by the student, the school should have contacted his

parents in the required method, and allowed them to be made aware of his bad behavior.

The school had a duty to ensure the safety of its students. While administering

consequences for certain transgressions, following a strict adherence to procedural rules and

functions was an established dutythereby constituting a claim of negligence. Recognizing that

a principal task of supervisors is to anticipate and curb rash student behavior, our courts have

often held that a failure to prevent injuries caused by the intentional or reckless conduct of the

victim or a fellow student may constitute negligence (Dailey v. Los Angeles Unified School

District, 1970).

Ray Knights parents have legitimate grounds to support a lawsuit against the school.

Although Knight behaved in a truant manner, and should be held accountable (Nikkila v. Niemi,

1967), even if he is young, the fact that the school was negligent in its duty to notify his parents

cannot be overlooked. The school is liable for the accident which occurred. If the school had

correctly informed his guardians, then the accident may not have befallen. As in Brownell v. Los

Angeles Unified School District (1992), The duty to supervise encompasses the duty to look

outside before releasing the students. Nobody looked. It was not clear what they would have seen
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had they looked. They may or may not have seen these gang members walking down the street.

We will never know, because nobody looked.


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References

Choice v. YMCA of McHenry County, 976 N.E. 2d 584 (2012).

Nikkila v. Niemi, 248 Or. 594 (1967)

Brownell v. Los Angeles Unified School District, 4 Cal. App. 4th 787 (1992).

Dailey v. Los Angeles Unified School District, 2 Cal.3d 741 (1970).

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