A Secret Policy
Q: My special-needs bus would never enter the school yard. Instead, it would stop on the street, and an employee of the bus company would make sure I got inside. One day, the employee was absent. I was left unattended in the traveling bus, for over six hours. Everyone agrees that the bus company is liable for this. What about the school?
A: Traditionally, it has been the responsibility of the bus company, not the school, to check to see that all of the children have exited the bus. A school’s duty to its students is dependent on its physical custody of those students, and you never passed into that physical custody.
However, suppose that, before this incident, the school had promulgated a policy, and implemented a practice, of ascertaining the whereabouts of any child who is absent from class. By virtue of this, your attorney might be able to contend that the school had assumed a duty to ensure the safe arrival of its students.
On the other hand, in order for the school to be negligent in the performance of any such assumed duty, the bus company or your parents must have known of, and relied upon, the school’s performance. You or the company must have tailored your own conduct in reliance upon the school’s hypothetical policy of checking.
I would imagine that, even if the school had such a policy, the school had declined to publicize it – and cannot possibly have relied on upon a policy that was secret.
By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial
The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.
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