JOIN COMMON GOOD’S ONLINE FORUM: RISK AND LEGAL FEAR IN SCHOOLS
We entrust our children to teachers and principals with the expectation that they will be both educated and protected from harm. When, inevitably, incidents happen—especially when those incidents are tragic and well-publicized—communities often press for stricter rules and procedures. But are all of the rules and procedures wise? Do they truly make schools and children safer and better? One school, for example, suspended a six-year-old for "pointing his finger like a gun and saying 'pow,'" while another suspended two boys for playing cops and robbers.
To shield themselves from legal exposure, schools have attempted to eliminate every conceivable risk—no tire swings, no dodgeball, no monkey bars. Field trips require complex liability waivers. Every activity requires paperwork—documentation, permissions, waivers. Our schools must be safe, but are some of the steps taken to protect against every possible lawsuit and risk doing more harm than good?
Common Good is hosting an online forum to address this question, with experts on education, parenting, and the law, including:
- Lenore Skenazy, author and founder of Free Range Kids
- Frederick Hess, Director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute
- Nancy McDermott, writer and former chair of the advisory board for Park Slope Parents
- Walter Olson, senior fellow at the Cato Institute
- Megan Rosker, teacher and founder of Let Children Play
These experts have already started talking about how to address risk and legal fear in schools.
Find out what our panelists think and contribute your comments and questions below.Comment ›