Student Supervision is Often a Key Issue in School Safety Litigation

A lawsuit which included allegations that football players were not being properly supervised when high school student Blake Hunt was injured was recently settled for $8 million.  The student is now paralyzed from the waist down from an injury that occurred while participating in a football scrimmage in Flushing, New York.

Effective student supervision can be a valuable tool to improve school safety.  As improved school safety efforts can reduce the number of safety incidents that take place, it can be a powerful prevention tool for school officials.  Improving student supervision is usually inexpensive and in many cases, is very easy to accomplish.  Improving student supervision can also help to reduce exposure to civil liability. 

Allegations of inadequate student supervision are frequently key issues in school safety lawsuits.  Expert witnesses often try to determine whether supervision of students was appropriate or not when they conduct forensic evaluations of cases regardless of whether they have been retained by the defense or the plaintiff’s counsel.  This means that proper documentation of efforts to maintain effective student supervision can also be important.  As with many other aspects of school safety, efforts to properly document training and daily practices can also help to improve the efficiency of the efforts because it can improve communications.

Taking the time to improve student supervision, as well as to communicate and document the actions taken to do so, can have a positive impact on school safety, climate, and culture while reducing risk exposure.

About Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn serves as the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a non-profit school safety center. The author of 27 books on school safety, Michael’s campus safety work has taken him to 11 countries over the past 34 years.