When you drop your kids off at school, you're putting the teachers in charge. Children have to listen to them -- within reason, of course -- and this relationship is often summed up by the phrase "In Loco Parentis." This means “in the place of the parents," showing that authority is being given over to the teachers and administrators when the parents are not around.

Duty of Care

One thing that is important to remember is that this same idea means the teachers have an obligation to care for the students. They're not just there to govern. They also have to keep the children safe, and they have a responsibility to watch out for their best interests. If they don't do this and your child is hurt, they can be accused of negligence, even if they didn't take any active role in injuring the child.

An Example

Teachers need to watch out for behavior that is known to be dangerous and take steps to stop it. For example, a teacher may decide to clean his or her floors during a free hour after a spill, not wanting to bother the janitors. This may take longer than expected, meaning there's little time to take the cleaning solution back to the locked closet.

If the teacher then decides to simply leave the bottle out and deal with it later, and then a children drinks the cleaner or gets it in his or her eyes while the teacher's back is turned, that teacher could be accused of negligence resulting in injury. A known danger was left where children could reach it, and, even if the teacher verbally told the children not to touch it, not enough was done to keep impulsive young students from injury.

Injury Compensation

Every parent dreads getting the call saying a child was injured at school. If you do get that call, though, be sure you understand all of your legal options to seek compensation when a teacher was negligent.

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