Child injured at school in Singapore: Who is responsible?
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Parents have to be sure that their children are safe. Most parents leave children at school and kindergarten with complete faith that someone will look after their successors. We all know that children are precious but there are some additional things, you should have in mind that concerns safety.
First of all, parents have to realize that incidents happen and teachers and supervisors can't protect children if they are deliberately put themselves at risk. If one child is injured while he is in school territory, often parents first want to know who is responsible. The short answer is that it depends on the situation. Some cases require deeper inquiry whether if not there is someone to blame.
Before asking who is responsible for an injured child at school, we should answer these questions
Where has the accident happened?
The school premises include all school facilities and yards. Schools that have pools should have additional staff to look after the safety in this area, too. However, teachers must watch after students outside the school premises when they are on camps or excursions. All free school activities on weekends, like sports activities, are also a responsibility of teachers.
Suing the school is not always the right decision, so have in mind that the court will have to define if there is a school’s negligence. It doesn't matter if the accident has happened in the school facility, the staff might be innocent.
When is the school not responsible?
Most kids are naughty and don't have yet great self-defence so their parents should teach them what they are allowed to do and what they are not. Playgrounds, for example, are common places for accidents, the same applies to sports activities which often can lead to injuries. Almost every kid knows what is to have sprained ankle or some leg injury because he or she was not careful enough on the playground. According to the law, school is not responsible for injuries that are induced by random playground accidents. Breach of discipline is something else. If there is a fight and there wasn't a supervision, then the fault is in the school. Adequate supervision means teacher or other staff presence. Imagine that all kids are having lunch inside the school, but in the yard, 3 students are arguing. Although most students are not outside, the yard shouldn't be left without supervision.
How many people should look after kids at school?
There is no minimum number of staff but the requirement is to have enough people watching after kids. Of course, no one expects teachers to have eyes and ears in every angle. If children are planning some mischief, the teacher can't be kept responsible for not finding out on time. If there are teachers patrolling in the school area and your kid has fallen down and has broken his leg then the school is not responsible. If one accident can't be prevented even if there was a teacher around, then the school is not liable. The court defines whether one accident could be prevented or not thanks to probabilities. This is not an exact science so everything is conditional.
If an accident has happened in the classroom then the situation is slightly different. The difference comes from the size of the room in comparison with the size of one playground. In the classroom, students should be attended all the time. For example, if there has been a fight in the classroom and one kid was injured, undoubtedly the guilt is in the school. In this particular case, the court will say that there is school negligence. However, if a kid has decided to jump from the roof of the school then there is an obvious risk of injury, which the kid should realize. If there is an intentional participating in dangerous activity then the court can't say the school is liable.
What is the best thing parents could do to protect their children?
The best thing is teaching your kids how to protect themselves. There is nothing more useful than knowing which activities are dangerous and which are totally safe. Children should know how far their limits can go and when they will overstep them. Nothing can replace home education and basic protected mechanisms. Always remember that the first thing for protection is the knowledge, so prepare your kid for school life.