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Court Refuses to Apply "Helicopter Educator" Standard (NY)

January 12, 2018

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In recent years, the term “helicopter parent” has entered our lexicon to describe parents who provide too much close attention to their children at every waking moment.  A recent decision from the Second Department refused to enshrine the concept of “helicopter educator” into law.
In <em><a href="">LR v. City of New York</a></em>, the parent of a four year filed a derivative action against the City of New York and the Department of Education for injuries sustained after the four year-old tripped on the foot of a chair while returning her food tray to a trash bin.  The plaintiff argued the activity was not an age-appropriate task, but the court disagreed.
While the court acknowledged that schools owed a duty to adequately supervise their students, they are not required to “continuously supervise and control all movements and activities of students.”  That, coupled with the fact that the students had performed that simple task every single day led the court to grant the City’s motion for summary judgment.
While the court refused to apply a helicopter educator standard to school districts, educational facilities should not read the decision as a license to be lax in supervising children.  The duty to supervise still applies.       Thanks to Mike Gauvin for his contribution to this post.  Please email <a href="">Brian Gibbons</a> with any questions.


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