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RUNNING HEAD: Artifact #3 Tort and Liability 1

Artifact # 3

Tort and Liability

Genevieve Weems

College of Southern Nevada

October 27, 2017


Artifact #3 Tort and Liability 2

Ray Knight is a Middle school student. He was suspended from school for three days due

to unexcused absences. Though there are procedures for notifying the parents to the student’s

suspension, the only notice given was a letter that Ray threw away. During the first day of Ray’s

suspension, he was accidentally shot while at a friend’s house. Would Ray’s parents have legal

grounds to peruse liability charges against the school?

In the case of Sutton v. Duplessis, Peter Sutton was off school grounds when he was hit

by Wilfred Duplessis’s car. Stephanie Sutton, peter’s mother, was late picking up Peter and his

brother after school one day. The School had the boys wait in the office under the watch of a

secretary. As they were waiting Peter saw a friend and decided to walk home with them. Once

they got the friend’s house, the friend’s mother told Peter to go back to school, as they had

errands to run and his mom was probably waiting for him. Peter had started walking back when

he ran across the street and was hit. The court found that the school district at fault for failing to

make sure the boy had not left school grounds without his parent.

There are few cases that fid the school at fault for an accident. Though according to Perry

Zirkel “The key is what school officials do or fail to do at school, rather than the location or

timing of the student’s injury” (Zirkel 11). In the case of Joseph J. the school was responsible.

Joseph lived with his father and two brothers, one of which would pick him up from school and

walk him home every day. However, there were several days in the year where students could go

home half way through the day. Usually students would receive and hand book or newsletter

with these days on it. However, Joseph’s father never received one. When the first of these days

came, Joseph’s father went to the school to pick him up and could not find anyone. It turns out

that Joseph was a few blocks away playing with another kid when a car hit him. The court found

that the school was responsible for failing to give the parent the proper information.
Artifact #3 Tort and Liability 3

In most cases the school is not held liable for what happens off campus. In the case

Hoyem v. Manhattan Beach City School District the district was not responsible. The student,

Hoyem, was injured after ditching school half way through the day. The court found that the

school cannot follow the student wherever he goes while not on school grounds, and were not

responsible for what happened. The student’s actions are not risk-proof. They put themselves in

the situation and are therefore responsible for the injury.

Even in cases where the injury is on school grounds the school can be the one not at fault.

In Taylor v. Oakland Scavenger co., a student was hit by a garbage truck backing into them

while walking across the campus for a physical education course. The court went back and forth

on whether it was the school of the driver who were negligent. The company argued that the

teacher should have been watching the students. The school argued that the driver should have

been watching where they were going. In the end the court found that the company was

responsible, even though the driver was a contractor, because they still hired that person.

There are many similarities between these cases and the hypothetical posed. Especially

between Joseph’s case and the hypothetical. Both injuries are based on a lack of information

getting to the parents. Though the big question here is how responsible is the school for getting

information home to parents. While the school missed several notes and calls home, they did

give a letter the student chose to not give to his parents. However, if the student had been

missing this much class it is more than likely that the student was also failing. If the student’s

grades did not raise a flag with the parents, it is possible the parents were not that attentive of the

student.

Though the argument could be made that it was the parents fault for not being more

attentive of their child, I believe that the one at fault is the student. The student is the one who
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threw away the letter, not informing his parents of the suspension. The student is the one that

chose to go to his friend’s house without informing his parents. In the end it was the student’s

own neglectful actions that led to his injury and the parents would be liable for the damages.
Artifact #3 Tort and Liability 5

References

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit. (1991, July 30). SUTTON v. DUPLESSIS | 584

So.2d 362 (1991) | so2d3621927. Retrieved October 27, 2017, from

https://www.leagle.com/decision/1991946584so2d3621927

Hoyem v. Manhattan Beach City Sch. Dist. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2017, from

https://law.justia.com/cases/california/supreme-court/3d/22/508.html

Stanford Law School - Robert Crown Law Library. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2017, from

https://scocal.stanford.edu/opinion/taylor-v-oakland-scavenger-co-29107

Zirkel, P. A. (2007, Jan. & feb.). Liability for Off-Campus Nonschool Activity. It's the Law.

Retrieved October 20, 2017, from

https://www.naesp.org/sites/default/files/resources/2/Principal/2007/J-Fp10.pdf