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When you sign a permission slip for your child to go on a field trip, you expect it to be pretty simple. Generally, you're giving your OK for your kid to ride a bus somewhere fun. Who wouldn't sign that? How about if the permission slip expected you to let the school off the hook if something bad happened to your kid?
Would you want to sign that slip? Parents in the St. Louis Park School District are weighing that one right now. After a tragic landslide killed two fourth graders during a school fossil hunting field trip last school year, the district is looking to protect itself.
So they sent home a permission slip to parents this year that states:
We understand the arrangements described above and believe the necessary precautions and plans for the care and supervision of students during the field trip will be taken. Beyond this we will not hold the school or those supervising the trip responsible.
So, basically the school is saying "your kids COULD die on our field trip, but don't sue us because we're really not responsible!" How ... comforting?
Every time your kid leaves your sight, you have to know something could go wrong. I don't mean to sound like a cynic here, but that's life.
The bus could crash. They could develop a sudden deadly allergy to bee stings. The ceiling could cave in.
I could continue to list the things that could go wrong, but really, why work ourselves up? We know it could happen, but part of being a mom is knowing that we have to suck it up and risk it if we want our kids to live full lives. We can't put kids in bubbles.
Still, with all that said, we should be able to send our kids to school activities with at least some sense that they'll be OK, that the school has their best interests at heart. A permission slip like this does the opposite. It tells the parents that the school cares about its bottom line first, the kids second.
I don't know that I could sign a permission slip like this.
I don't care about suing a school, frankly. I know it happens, and that not all parents are greedy. Sometimes it's just about paying medical bills that become a burden. Still, if something horrible happened to my child, that would be the last thing on my mind. But I do want to know that a school cares about my kid.
Would you sign this permission slip? What's the scariest thing you've seen written on a permission slip?
Image by Jeanne Sager