School Warns Parents It's Not Responsible for Their Kids During Field Trips

Say What!? 27

school busWhen 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

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ashjo85 ashjo85

You can thank sue-happy parents for this. You may not sue, but there are greedy parents and lawyers without scruples only too happy to take on the case. Our society is reaping the rewards of that culture.

adamat34 adamat34

Nope. And I would also re evaluate my kids attending. We are good enough to pay your salaries, parents deserve this small consideration. This is nuts. Yes what happened was tragic, but ideally, the responsibility is yours. The tax payers pay you to teach our children. I have even heard speeches to the tune of " we are your child's parents when they are in this building" well....ok but then I expect you to care for my child as I would if something horrible happened. Cant ride the fence teachers. Your in, collecting our money, or your out, find a different profession.

Movie... Moviebuff

@ashjo85 I agree with you and I would sign the slip.

nonmember avatar myopinion10

i agree with the school. Why should they have to pay for you crappy kid running off or tearing stuff up?

Prett... PrettyGirlMyers

You are seriously nuts.The school is basically saying that they can't be held responsible for an act of God (i.e, a landslide, hurrican, etc...), not that the children won't be looked after and taken care of to the best of their ability. I have to echo what ashjo85 said, it's because of sue-happy parents that schools have had to take these kinds of precautions.

katyq katyq

I would sign it.adamat is one of those sue happy people.

nonmember avatar CM

I actually like how the permission slip includes "those supervising the trip". I and many moms/dad I am friends with have been chaperones on field trips for our kids. It's absolutely amazing how awful the behavior of some children are! I'd hate to be sued if some child did something stupid and I couldn't get to them in time b/c I was trying to wrangle 6-8 other small children (or, not so small children), most of whom are acting up b/c they're all excited to be on a field trip. Heck, I just took my own children with some friends and their mom, fossil hunting around some cliffs, so I know exactly how hard it is to keep kids from exploring too close to the edge, or digging fossils, or climbing the cliffs--all of which could start a landslide. I can't imagine trying to chaperone a field trip like that with children that aren't my own and keeping track of 6-10 children! I've chaperoned many, many field trips, and every stinking time there's at least one child in my group that's a trouble maker or a runner, and that seems to be the same for every parent I know that chaperones. What if a child darts into traffic in front of the museum or runs away from you in a crowded zoo? Both have happened to people I know. If you don't want to sign a disclaimer like that, then chaperone your own child's field trips, or tell the school you'll accompany your child separately.

MrsRo... MrsRoberts413

Oh, come on-the school could not possible have had any control over the natural disaster that was the landslide!  Tragic though it may be, they are not at fault for it.  If the injury, etc., was the result of adult negligence (lack of sufficient chaperones=poor supervision=child getting hit by a car or lost or somewhat), I can understand parents going after the school.  But a natural disaster?  Nobody has any control over that!

nonmember avatar Cbare

I am a second grade teacher. I do not take kids on field trips. It is very difficult to supervise 30 kids at the zoo, farm, ect. And sometimes the parents that chaperone are worse than the kids. I even had a parent hit a kid.

Truth... Trutherford85

I would NOT sign the permission slip at all! If they can't guarantee my child will be safe he will either a) not go or b) go only with me or his father present! I know thy are protecting themselves from crazy sue happy parents, but my job is to protect my child from God knows what! So if the school won't I gladly will or he will not be going with them

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