One of our regular readers sent me a note about school permission slips. Her kids go to school in Cobb County and she is bothered by how completely the permission forms seem to clear the school of any responsibility to your child. Here’s what she wrote:
“I’m not sure if you’ve covered this topic before, but I was wondering about your, and other parent’s, take on the “waiver” that appears on permission slips for field trips – at least in Cobb County. If you read it carefully, it says you agree to fully “hold harmless” the school, school system, etc. under ANY circumstances if your child is participating in the field trip. This sounds to me that the trip supervisor could sit and watch the bus driver consume alcohol then load up the kids and go. If your student willingly gets on the bus and an accident occurs because of the driver’s impairment and your child is injured, oh well – you’ve already agreed you won’t make a claim against the school or any of its agents.”
“Not only that, but you also agree to reimburse the school system in case any claim, made by ANYONE, is made if it occurs as a result of your student being a part of (i.e ”participating in “) the field trip. This sounds broad enough to cover the school, but what about us? I don’t want to reimburse the school system if something goes wrong just because my child happened to be participating in the field trip unless it was a direct result of my child’s inappropriate or negligent behavior.”
I’m no lawyer but that’s how I read it. I usually write in at the bottom “except where negligence is evident” but I’m not sure how much that covers me. Here’s the wording from permission slip:
“I release and waive, and further agree to indemnify, hold harmless or reimburse the Cobb County School District, the Board of Education, its successors and assigns, its members, agents, employees, and representative thereof, as well as trip supervisors, from and against any claim which I, any other parent or guardian, any sibling, the student, or any other person, firm or corporation may have or claim to have, known or unknown, directly or indirectly, from any losses, damages or injuries arising out of, during or in connection with the student’s participation in the trip or the rendering of emergency medical procedures or treatment, if any.
So what do you guys think: Are you comfortable letting the schools take your children on field trips? Are you comfortable signing this type of waiver? Do you actually read the permission slips they bring home? Did you worry they were too inclusive even if your child did get hurt?