Case Commentary – Legal Responsibility for Injuries at School


Last week, we discussed the general principles that govern liability for injuries at school. This case shows how the standard of care is applied to teachers and school boards that are responsible for looking after children during school activities.

Peters v. Peel District School Board et al. 

This case arose after the plaintiff, a high school student, injured her left knee during track practice. She later underwent surgery to repair a tear to her lateral meniscus. In her claim, she alleged that the school board, her school principal, and her track and field coach were negligent, and this caused her injuries. She was seeking damages for chronic pain and permanent disability, that she claimed had prevented her from pursuing a career as a singer, dancer and actor.

What is the standard of care expected of a school teacher, coach or principal?

The court confirmed that teachers and other school staff owe students a duty of care. The expected standard is that of a “careful and prudent parent.” The level of care required could vary depending on the circumstances, such as the age and number of students, the activity and skill level of participants, and any other factor the court deems relevant based on the facts.

Here, it was significant that the coach was supervising students in accordance with applicable provincial guidelines for athletics. The student was found to have been trained and instructed properly. After her injury, she was treated with the care that would be expected of a reasonable and prudent parent. The school had the student contact a caregiver and discussed what happened, and staff waited with her until she was picked up by a family member.

Based on the facts, the school was not negligent, and the plaintiff’s claim was dismissed.

Knowledgeable personal injury advice about injuries at school and recreational sports

At Jasmine Daya & Co., we have over four decades of experience advising injured plaintiffs about their legal options. Our team has successfully represented children and minors that have suffered injuries at school, and while playing recreational sports.

Our personal injury lawyers offer free consultations for all new clients. Contact us online, or call our office at 416-967-9100 to make an appointment today.