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Loco parentis - problem on school trip

(36 Posts)
DominicMum Fri 24-Jun-11 13:34:47

My son has Aspergers syndrome and returned from a school trip 5 days away. Whilst away, there was a problem where without supervision he got into an argument and damaged hotel property. Do you know who is legally responsible for the damage? Looking at loco parentis - I think the school should have supervised better (they cope very well at school), but failed. Any advice?

Isitreally Fri 24-Jun-11 18:50:01

How old is your son?

DialMforMummy Fri 24-Jun-11 19:08:21

Are they asking you to pay for the damage done?

clam Fri 24-Jun-11 19:13:49

I admit I have no idea about who is legally responsible, but if my child, Aspergers or not, damaged someone else's property, I would pay up.

thisisyesterday Fri 24-Jun-11 19:17:59

how old is he? and did he know what he was doing was wrong?

regardless of Asperger's, or anything else, if he was doing something he knew he shouldn't have been and damaged something then he/you are responsible, not the school

aries12 Fri 24-Jun-11 19:39:25

How old is he? I guess he is old enough to be away for five school days. He probably should have been supervised more closely but I am sure he knows the difference between right and wrong. I have no idea who is responsible but I suspect it may be the parent. There usually is some sort of contract/agreement to be signed before children go on trips...usually the same school rules apply outside the school as in school...so if your child damaged property in school you would have to pay.

unfitmother Fri 24-Jun-11 19:48:01

Have you been asked to pay for something?

DominicMum Mon 27-Jun-11 16:16:09

Thanks for your replies. Dom is 11. We have been called to a meeting to discuss the money. Does he know right from wrong? Yes and no - look up Autism/Aspergers if this interests you. Asperger's is a disability so the teachers are on notice that he sometimes cannot control his behaviour. I think that as I wasn't there, and the teachers were 'in charge', they should have been supervising. He has full 1 to 1 supervision at school.

PonceyMcPonce Mon 27-Jun-11 16:24:37

If a students needs one to one in school, it seems bizarre to think he would not need one to one on a residential trip to a strange place.

I think they need to convince you he was adequately supervised in the first place.

Damage to property a separate issue IMO.

bubblecoral Mon 27-Jun-11 16:29:59

My ds has aspergers so I have a good understanding of it. I would think that in your situation, paying half the cost would be reasonable.

The school should have responsibility if your ds has one to one supervision at school, but at the same time, if you force the school to pay, that money has to come out of the budget and all the children, or maybe your own, would miss out on something.

I would ask to see the schools risk assesments in relation to your ds, because they should have had some sort of plan in place about how they were going to adequately supervise him. If they didn't do that, or they failed to adhere to it, I would be kicking off about that because your son could have come to harm, never mind the accommodation.

CairyHunt Mon 27-Jun-11 16:34:21

I would pay up. Surely you cannot expect ther school to stump up the bill.

Gotabookaboutit Mon 27-Jun-11 16:58:00

Depends on the contract implied or signed with the accommodation by the school probably as to who is legally liable. Why is the hotel not claiming on its insurance??

Isitreally Mon 27-Jun-11 18:38:00

I think looking at contracts and asking for strict definitions on legal responsibility is perhaps a bit OTT. I would think the parents should certainly pay for the damage unless huge mitigating circumstances exist like the child was left alone when he shouldn't have been and was so frightened he hammered the door or unless there was a whole group involved in the damage and only one is being singled out or unless his condition is so severe that it requires 24 hour 1:1 supervision to stop him hurting himself or others and they failed to supply that and he was injured and damaged something as a result.

I am not sure (and I might get flamed for this) that having Aspergers past a certain age (over 10 being classed as an adult as far as criminal damage for example) is going to excuse causing damage without consequence at this age or in the future.

thisisyesterday Mon 27-Jun-11 19:16:51

my child has asperger's, so it isn't something i need to look up, and i stand by my initial post.

if my son got into an argument and damaged hotel property i wouldn't think twice about paying for it

bigTillyMint Mon 27-Jun-11 19:25:15

Does he damage property at school? At home?

Goblinchild Mon 27-Jun-11 19:25:22

Three card trick...
My son had Asperger's
Is violent when stressed
I'm a teacher who has supervised residential trips.

I'd check the circumstances, check that they had followed agreed procedures in their risk assessment for the trip and the conditions under which he was taken.
Then I'd probably pay.
I've paid for a few items of school equipment and furniture along the way. And half the cost of a door.

bubblecoral Mon 27-Jun-11 20:03:57

I agree that I would probably pay too if it were my child, but without more knowledge of the circumstances of how the damage happened, and of the OP's personal financial situation, I don't think any of us can reasonable say whether she should be paying the full amount or just half.

But I accept that that is only my opinion, and my ds doesn't have one to one support to deal with his aspergers, so if he caused any amount of damage I would be confident that he knew what he was doing and I would be justified in taking at least some of the money from his savings account. I also think it depends if OP is awarded DLA, because if she is then I would say that that money could be used to pay for the damage.

spanieleyes Mon 27-Jun-11 20:09:27

My son has Aspergers and he too reacts badly when stressed but he still knows right from wrong and if he does something wrong, he is responsible for it.

Goblinchild Mon 27-Jun-11 20:13:47

Mine knows right from wrong, but not in a meltdown. The sense of morality and understanding of redress kicks in later when his logic circuits are functioning again.

Gotabookaboutit Mon 27-Jun-11 20:25:47

If it,s £50 then I'm sure most of us would e happy to pay but it could be thousands ?? Would everyone be as happy to step up then without knowing the circumstances?

StyleandBooty Mon 27-Jun-11 20:29:39

Was there no insurance?

Goblinchild Mon 27-Jun-11 20:29:49

That's why the OP needs to check all the exact circumstances, including what was originally agreed to be put in place to support her son before the trip, how that support worked out in reality and the exact circumstances that led to the damage happening.
When was he unsupervised? Was the supervision supposed to be 24/5?
Who else was involved in the incident?
What was damaged and how?

Gotabookaboutit Mon 27-Jun-11 20:43:41

Exactly ! and what insurance was in place.

Deesus Mon 27-Jun-11 20:50:19

The hotel will be insured but if they claim on PL the insurers can still persue recovery against school/parents. If the hotel can get the money directly from school/parents they will to avoid making a claim as that is in their interests.

I think legally the parents are ultimately responsible. Possibly school could be but you may have to prove they were negligent? Might be an idea to ring CAB for legal advice?

Strix Mon 27-Jun-11 20:58:45

I think the school should demonstrate they were not negligent, especially since one to one care is what is required for this child.

Do you have details of what happened? Enough to know if he was being supervised properly?

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