Liability & Legal Considerations for Physical Education

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  • 0:04 Liability & Legal…
  • 0:47 Common Sources of…
  • 2:02 Best Safety Practices
  • 3:21 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Donna Ricketts

Donna Ricketts is a health educator with 15 years of professional experience designing health and wellness programs for adults and children.

In this lesson, you'll learn about the liability and legal considerations for physical education. Discover the common sources of legal liability and specific steps to take in order to reduce accidents and prevent possible legal issues.

Liability & Legal Considerations

Physical education (PE) teachers compared to classroom teachers have more liability and legal concerns because of the nature of their work. At any given time, PE teachers could have thirty or more kids moving around at the same time participating in activities such as tag, kickball, or softball. It's because of this physical activity that there is more of a chance that a child could get hurt, therefore exposing PE teachers to possible liability issues more so than that of classroom teachers.

There are certain factors or sources that could lead to legal liability, which is defined as being legally responsible for your actions, for PE teachers. Let's take a look at the most common conditions in physical education that might result in legal actions.

Common Sources of Legal Liability

Some of the most common reasons for legal liability issues in physical education include:

A lack of supervision

The PE teacher is expected to supervise student behavior and participation at designated times during the school day. If he or she is off on a personal call or talking to another teacher, and not looking after the students, it's considered poor supervision.

Inadequate instruction

One of the main responsibilities of the PE teacher is to teach students how to execute a movement or activity prior to their participation in specific physical education activities. If a student gets hurt performing an action in which there was no instruction, negligence can be shown on the part of the PE teacher.

A failure to inform students of risks

PE teachers must always share with students the possible injuries related to specific activities if not performed correctly. Failure to inform students about the potential risks associated with improper technique can lead to accidents and injuries.

Unsafe facilities and damaged equipment

The PE teacher should regularly check the condition of the equipment and areas where physical education is taught, in order to foresee possible accidents or injuries. Some examples of unsafe facilities and equipment are worn out baseball mitts and jump ropes, potholes in the playground, or unsafe objects in the gym.

Best Safety Practices

There are certain safety measures that PE teachers can take to guard against liability and legal issues. Some of the basic safety procedures that can help eliminate or reduce accidents include:

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