Permission Forms on School Trips
Schools will often provide field trips and activities to enhance the students’ enjoyment and interest in education. These trips can be fun and exciting for your child. However, these trips may come with a certain level of risk.
Schools will often ask you to sign permission forms for school trips. Permission slips are not liability waivers but they do seek the consent from parents for the students to participate in the trip or activity. Permission forms will often provide a description of the trip and activity and the risks associated with it. By signing the form, parents and students are deemed to have accepted those risks.
Permission forms have been considered by the Ontario courts. For instance, in a case named Thomas v Hamilton Board of Education, a student sustained a spinal cord injury in a football accident. The parents had signed a permission form for the student to participate in the sport. The court held that the school was not negligent in organizing and supervising the football program and the injury was caused by the normal risks of the game.
This case was appealed to the Court of Appeal, which held that the permission forms would not have protected the school or coaches from negligence on their part, but that it did protect them from injuries sustained in the normal course of the game. By signing the permission form, the parents had consented to the normal risks of the game.
Therefore, permission forms will likely protect the school and school board from the normal risks associated with a trip or activity. By signing the form, you have consented to your child partaking in the activity or trip. If your child is injured because of normal risks, the school and the school board will not likely be found responsible.
However, permission forms will likely not protect a school or school board for injuries that were caused by the school’s negligence. If the child is injured because of the negligent actions of the school, its teachers, or its coaches, the school and school board will likely not be protected against a lawsuit.
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