Visitor Question

School liability for disregarding doctors’ notes?

Submitted By: Kendra (Staunton, Virginia)

My child has doctors notes stating she is not to participate in gym class due to her physical issues. Despite these notes school is nonetheless having her participate in gym class.

One physical issue is an eye condition which, if a head injury happened damaging the vision in the other eye, would leave the child legally blind. The other issue is a problem with a her hips. The child has severe femoral antiversion.

Due to a fast growth spurt her thigh bones have rotated inward. Walking and exercise causes her pain, and her hips are constantly needing to be put back into position.

She has one semester left of gym and the school is saying that the department of education sets the requirements, not the doctor.

What can I do? If a child has notes from two doctors stating that gym class is not to be participated in and your child is seriously injured while participating, what is the school’s liability? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Kendra,

Tell your daughter not to participate in gym class. In the immortal words of Nancy Reagan, “just say no.” Additionally, contact the principal and tell her your daughter’s injuries are serious enough to exclude her from gym class. Tell the principal you forbid your daughter to participate. It’s unlikely the principal will ignore your request.

If you and your daughter’s doctors are convinced participating in gym class will result in harm, you have no choice but to tell your daughter not to participate. It’s unlikely the gym teacher will use physical force to coerce your daughter to participate.

To deal with the state’s requirements for graduation contact the Virginia Board of Education. Ask them for help. They have the power to amend graduation requirements in case of disability. To access the information you will need go to the State of Virginia Board of Education’s web site.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: December 17, 2013

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