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February 21, 2022

Negligent Supervision 

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Posted in Wisconsin Workers Compensation Related News

Premises Liability lawyer

When children are at school or daycare, those in charge of the children have a legal duty to adequately supervise them. The children’s parents have entrusted the school and day care workers with their children’s care. This legal duty means that schools and day care facilities must make all reasonable efforts to ensure that the children are safe. 

If a child is injured at school or day care, the school or day care may be liable if it was negligent in carrying out its duty of supervision. Because negligent supervision is a type of negligence, a plaintiff in a negligent supervision lawsuit will need to prove the four elements of a negligence claim: that the defendant owed the child a duty, that the defendant breached that duty, that the child was injured, and that the defendant’s breach was the cause of the child’s injury. 

A plaintiff can show that a school or day care breached its duty of supervision by showing that the level of supervision exercised by the school or daycare was inadequate. The level of supervision that will be considered adequate varies depending on the particular child and circumstances. However, there are a few common considerations to take into account when evaluating whether supervision is legally adequate. 

When Is Supervision Adequate?

The level of supervision necessary will depend on how old the child is and what kind of activity the child is engaged in. For example, a kindergarten student will require a higher level of supervision on the playground than a middle school student, and children using scissors will need more supervision than children reading books. The experience level of the child in relation to the activity they are engaged in is also relevant. A child who has never ridden a bike before will require more supervision than one who has. Further, the supervisor should be aware of any factors outside of their control, such as when children are on a field trip and are subjected to threats from more sources than in the classroom. 

Other Aspects of the Duty to Supervise

Schools’ and daycares’ duty to supervise children in their care extends beyond taking reasonable steps to protect a child’s safety during a risk activity. These institutions must monitor the children’s general surroundings to ensure their well-being. Schools’ and day care facilities’ duty of supervision extends to protecting children from harm from fellow students, such as bullying or physical aggression, and harm from other adults, such as abuse or kidnapping. 

Schools and day care facilities should have adequate security measures in place to ensure they are meeting their duty of supervision, such as fences around the playground and employees watching students on the playground at all times. 

If a school or day care fails to provide an adequate level of supervision considering all of the circumstances, and a child is harmed because of that failure, the school district or day care can be held liable for the child’s injuries. Consult with a premises liability lawyer to learn more about such claims pertaining to negligent supervision in a daycare setting.

Thanks to Eglet Adams for their insight on negligent supervision. 

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