Chaperone Liability: Can a person be held liable when watching a child?

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A recent Hawaii verdict for $700,000 should cause concern for schools, day care centers, churches, and other groups that take field trips within the community, the State of Florida, and abroad. Teresa Cleary, a chaperone on a cheerleading field trip, was charged with the responsibility of chaperoning and supervising the children on a trip to Hawaii. One of the students on the trip (an 18 year old) fell from a balcony to her death. There were reports of drinking prior to the incident. While an incident like this is uncommon, the verdict serves as a “wake up call” to all parents responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of children on a field trip. While it is important to have fun, see the sites, and have an education, the safety of the children is the most important thing when traveling with children. This applies to a field trip around the corner as well as trips to other countries.

The liability of a chaperone is similar to that of a teacher or neighbor watching your child. You can read more about the legal requirements for such a case in Florida by going to my article at Negligent Supervision in Florida by Teachers and Other Adults at Schools and Summer Camps: Do I have a legal case?