Lunch release programs for high schoolers are a great way to give students a break from demanding academic subjects and long days of confinement to the classroom. However, in spite of the benefits of such a program, off-campus lunches create a number of unique liabilities and risks.
Issues of Safety
While on campus, the school generally bears the responsibility of student health and safety. This holds true for accidents in the gym and meals served in the cafeteria. A student who leaves campus is open to safety concerns that school administrators can’t control. Student drivers may get into a car accident. Horseplay or other behaviors in a restaurant or on the street could also lead to student injury. Lunchbreak may be during school hours, but in some cases, leaving campus absolves the school of responsibility for the behaviors of the students.
Concerns of Liability
When it comes to school lunch liability, students dining on campus are the responsibility of the school. For schools that want to protect their liability from student actions who are dining off-campus for lunch, having a parental permission form on file puts the legal liability back with the parents. However, schools can still be held responsible for students that leave campus freely on their lunch break and return to harm others.
With the safety of students as the first priority, schools need to work out how to reduce their own liabilities while granting students lunch freedoms.