School principal insists that parent pays for student's injury?

by Nadia

My son was playing in class during a free session at school. As the students spotted their teacher approaching, they all hurried to their seats. In the rush to get to their seats, a child's finger got stuck between my son's chair and the desk behind him, and she sustained a finger dislocation.

The child's parents are seeking compensation for medical bills, and the principal of the school sent me a letter calling for a meeting. The letter states that I am responsible for compensating the girl's parents, and that my son will be suspended from school if I fail to attend the meeting.

Is this legal? How can a principal suspend a student if their parent doesn't attend a meeting? And how could I be responsible for this? Isn't the school responsible for injuries on their grounds? Please give me any helpful information you can. I don't know what to do about this. Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "School principal insists that parent pays for student's injury?":

Nadia (Florida):

If anyone is liable for the injuries to the student, it isn't you (on behalf of your son). It is the school's duty to properly supervise students at all times the students are on school property.

From the facts you present, you are under no legal obligation to compensate the child or his parents for the child's injuries. Under the circumstances, there is no evidence your son acted maliciously, or recklessly in inflicting the injury to the other student.

If he had, that might make a difference, as parents are legally responsible for the actions of their children that result in injuries to others.

In the matter of whether or not your son can be suspended if you fail to attend a meeting, that is covered under the school district's policy. Contact the office of the school superintendent, or the principal or your son's school. Ask for a copy of the policy so you can read it.

The policy should set out reasons for suspension of students. If failing to attend a meeting is on the list of reasons for the suspension of students, then your son can be suspended if you fail to follow the school's policy.

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

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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