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Portfolio #3

Jasmin Senn

Dr. Warby

EDU 210 1002 1003

19 February 2019

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Portfolio #3

Scenario:

Tort and Liability

Ray Knight was suspended from middle school for three days after unexplained absences.

On the first day of suspension, Ray was shot while visiting a friend which raised confusion for

Ray’s parents. It is procedure that schools send out a written notice by mail as well as a phone

call home to inform the parents of their child’s suspension, however the school did neither.

Instead, they sent Ray home with a handwritten notice which he threw away prior to the

shooting.

Pro Support Part I.

Ray’s parents do in fact have defensible grounds to pursue liability charges against

school officials. There was no proof that negligence/lack of supervision with the parents was the

cause of Ray’s absences or even the shooting. However, it is the school's responsibility to keep

track of its students and carefully supervise them in every situation. In the case Fontenot v. State

of Louisiana through Department of Education, a 14-year-old special education student was

placed in a wood working class, where he suffered severe lacerations to his hand. Is it

appropriate for a special needs student to go unsupervised in a woodworking class? Absolutely

not. Situations like these prove that schools do not always make the best choices regarding the

safety of their students. Similar to Ray’s situation, the school was aware of his unexcused

absences, however they did not inform the parents directly until the day of Ray’s shooting.

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Portfolio #3 Pro Support Part II.

In support of Ray’s parents, it is reasonable to conclude that the school should be held

liable for negligent supervision of students on school grounds. In the court case Hoyem v.

Manhattan Beach City School District, Michael Hoyem, a 10-year-old boy, was left hospitalized

after lack of supervision within the school. Micahel arrived at school on time, but left the

premises before school ended, resulting in injury by a motorist. This directly connects to the

same situation that is happening with Ray. If the school enforced stricter supervision for all

students within the school, Ray would not have had as much leniency skipping class. It is the

school's responsibility to make sure every student is where they are supposed to be, which proves

that the school neglected to inform Ray’s parents properly after the first unexcused absence.

Con Support Part I.

In support of the school, it is fair to say that Ray’s parents did not properly supervise their

child. This lack of supervision allowed Ray to get caught up with the wrong crowd, thus

resulting in a shooting. The court case Johnson Johnson v. School Distract of Millard highlights

the importance of child supervision. On September 15, 1993, music teacher Nancy Patton was

playing a game of “London Bridge” with her class. With her back turned, Robbie L. Johnson was

swung roughly against a bookcase, requiring 50 stitches to close the cut above his right eye.

Although Nancy Patton warned her students not to act aggressive, her lack of supervision was

ruled as negligence and her case was lost in court. Had Ray’s parents supervised his change in

behavior and friends, it is likely that Ray would not have skipped class and gotten shot.

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Portfolio #3 Con Support Part II.

In defense of the district, the school is not responsible for any misconduct that happens

with students who deliberately break the rules. Based on the scenario, it is clear that Ray was

involved with the wrong type of people. Despite his absences in school, Ray deliberately threw

away his letter of suspension, hiding the notice from his parents. In the case Mullis v. Sechrest,

Blaine S. Mullis was a 16-year-old student in high school. During an assembly, Blaine left to

return to a locked classroom where another student let him in. After playing unsupervised with

table saws, Blaine lost his balance and severed all four fingers and his thumb. The case however

was lost, and contributory negligence was filed against Blaine instead for his actions. There is

only so much that a school can do with thousands of students, especially when students continue

to break the rules. Similar to Blaine, Ray left knowingly breaking the rules and ended up in a

tragic situation.

Based on the text and court cases, I feel that the court will rule in favor of the school.

Negligence and lack of supervision seems to be the main reason that Ray ended up in this

situation. Much like the Johnson Johnson v. School District of Millard, Ray’s parents did not pay

attention to his every move and he ended up in an awful situation. Although the school did not

call home or send a notice home through the mail, they sent a letter with Ray who deliberately

threw it away. In addition, his parents failed to keep updated on his academic attendance and

behavior in school until this incident. The school is not responsible for what happens off school

grounds. At this point, it is in the hands of the parents who failed to acknowledge the problem

before it got worse.

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Portfolio #3

Works Cited Free Law Project. (2019). Fontenot v. State Through Department of Education. Retrieved from:

Justia. (2019). Hoyem v. Manhattan Beach City School District. Retrieved from:

Reuters, Thomas. (2019). Johnson Johnson v. School District of Millard. Retrieved from:

Reuters, Thomas. (2019). Mullis v. Sechrest. Retrieved from: caselaw.findlaw.com/nc-court-of-

appeals/1140074.html.