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Middle school charged with liability.

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Ana Mota
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Schools are required to make their grounds a safe place for students to learn in. They are also

responsible for notifying the parents of the students when there is a problem with the student.

When a school fails to do so, or a student gets injured, many times the parents can sue the

school. As it has happened in this case scenario, a student was injured off school grounds and his

mother will try to use Mitchell v. Cedar Rapids Community School District court case in support

of their case to sue the school with liability charges; in turn the middle school will use Vernali v.

Harrison Central school District and Andreozzi v. Town of East Haven Court Cases in their defense

given the circumstances. Should the school be held responsible for the whole situation or will the

blame be divided?
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In this case scenario a student, Ray Knight, was suspended from school for having many

unexcused absences. The school is required by the school district to notify the students legal

guardian(s) about the suspension with a telephone call and letter sent through the mail. The

school in this case only sent a letter with Ray, who discarded the letter, and lead to his parents

not knowing about his suspension and whereabouts. On the first day Ray was suspended he was

shot while he was at a friend’s house.

In the court case, Mitchell v. Cedar Rapids Community School District (2007), D.E. a

special education ninth-grade student was rapped off school grounds. This occurred after she

willingly left the school before her 6th period class, with another student who was the accused of

raping her. The court rule 30% of fault to D.E., who left the school without permission, and 70%

of fault to Kennedy High School, for not talking the necessary steps to notify D.E.’s mother of the

girls’ absence (Mitchell v, Cedar Rapids Community School District , 2013). The school failed to

notify the mother of the girls’ absence, which lead the mother to think that the girl was still at

school. This was a major mistake which probably lead to the girls’ sexual assault. In the case of

Ray Knight, the school failed to provide correct information about the students’ suspension,

leading the parents to think that he was still at school. If the parents were notified, then the

situation might have been avoided. The student would not have been in a place where he wasn’t

supposed to be, preventing him from being shot.

In the case of Vernali v. Harrison Central school District (2008), a boy 12-years of age was

released from school and proceeded to call his mother who was they to pick him up. She told

him she was across the street and once she saw him called him over to her car. There were safer

measures then the one the mother decide the child should take. He crossed in the middle of the
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street running and was struck by a truck, where he was left with energies. The mother sued the

school for negligence the court ruled in favor of the school seeing that the other was able to care

for the child but instructed him to dangerously cross the street (Vernali v. Harrison Central

School District , 2008). In favor of our case, Ray Knight was suspended from school which meant

that he was not supposed to be on school premises. The school is not responsible for children

that should be under the care of their guardian. When a school files a suspension, the child is

excused from his class(es) and is not the school’s responsibility until the child must return to

school. Which means that the school should not be held responsible for what happens to Ray

until his scheduled return.

In the case of Andreozzi v. Town of East Haven (2014) the court ruled that the school was

not to be held accountable for the injury that one of the track members had. The student

chooses to participate in the Cross Country which was not a requirement held by the school.

They concluded that the student was a voluntary participant and that released the school of any

charges because the coach had made the track safe enough for the students to run on fulfilling

the schools’ requirement to provide a safe setting for the students (Wolohan, 2014). Ray Knight

choose to put himself in a place he knew could be dangerous. The school is only responsible for

making their school grounds safe. It cannot control every other place the students choose to be

at. The school had fulfilled its duty to keep the school safe for the students they had at the time.

In conclusion the school should be held responsible for some of the occurred events, for

not correctly notifying the parents of Ray of his suspension. The student too was at fault when

he chose not to tell his mother about his situation and instead leave to the place of the incident.

The case of Mitchell v. Cedar Rapids Community School District (2007) would be the best choice
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to base this case out of. Where both sides were given blame based on the events that occurred;

not informing the mother of the students’ absence and the child leaving the school campus

before school was over.


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References

Mitchell v, Cedar Rapids Community School District . (2013, June 21). Retrieved from Find Law :

https://caselaw.findlaw.com/ia-supreme-court/1635949.html

Vernali v. Harrison Central School District . (2008, May 13). Retrieved from Leagle :

https://www.leagle.com/decision/200883351ad3d7821426

Wolohan, J. T. (2014, October ). School, Coach Sued for Negligence in Runner Injury. Retrieved

from Athletic Business: https://www.athleticbusiness.com/civil-actions/middle-school-

coach-sued-for-negligence-in-runner-injury.html