Explanation: Clarifying the roles of the various players involved in safe active transportation is an essential piece of any policy. One of the best ways to avoid disputes is by making sure that schools, families, and students have the same understanding about who is responsible for student safety and behavior at any given time. It is important to specify the roles of each participant and to clarify the responsibilities, expectations, and potential liability of all parties.
Option 1: The roles of District, families, and students regarding travel to and from school are as follows:
a. District/Schools. The role of District and individual schools is to encourage safe travel to and from school, and particularly to encourage active transportation. Notwithstanding certain exceptions, District and individual schools assume no liability for injuries or other damages, including property damage, that may occur while a student is in transit to and from school.
b. Parents and Guardians. The role of parents and guardians is to make informed decisions about which mode of transportation best suits their student in light of (i) the student’s personality, age, maturity, physical and cognitive development, and decision-making abilities, and (ii) the street, traffic, crime, and other relevant conditions likely to be encountered by the student when traveling to and from school. Parents and guardians are legally responsible and otherwise accountable for their student’s safety and well-being when the student is traveling to and from school.
c. Students. The role of students is to be safe and responsible while traveling to and from school, following state and local law and the rules established by their families, and obeying school rules while traveling on school campus. Students should act as good role models for their peers by observing traffic and safety rules, caring for property, and being courteous to others.
Do not include this element in my policy.
Legal Note: Liability, of course, is a major concern for school districts and individual schools alike. This policy sets forth the district’s intent that it not take on new responsibility or liability for school travel. Under certain circumstances, however, a district will have such responsibility and potential liability. If, for example, a student is traveling on a school bus, then naturally a school district might face liability if the student were injured as a result of negligence or the like. Please be sure to review the resources referenced below to get a better understanding of how liability works in the school context.