Child in wet bathing suit made to stand in -5F weather because school policy forbade her from waiting in teacher's car


In a statement, St. Paul Public School officials said they continue to work with the St. Paul Fire Marshal to regularly review these procedures, including cold weather modifications, and they will make any changes based on their recommendations.

So, let me see, people who are teachers have to wait and see what the fire department has to say about this? What an asinine statement. I realize that they are doing this to avoid responsibility should there be a suit, but come on. I’m so sick of people not being able to use their own brains for good judgement and then laying the blame elsewhere when they don’t. Why didn’t anyone immediately give her a coat? Everybody is a robot these days.


What would happen if a child got sick or injured and had to be taken to the emergency room, but it wasn’t urgent enough for an ambulance?
(Assume the child’s parents work far away from the school such that it would be impractical for them to come and pick her up).

When I was at school, in such a situation the child would have been taken in a teacher’s car- possibly in some places another teacher (or even another student!) would have had to ride with them because of rules about not allowing teachers to be alone with a child.


Fire alarms are tricky things. We are all taught repeatedly to get out immediately, without dilly-dallying, but there are many cases (~99%) where a bit of dilly-dallying is acceptable, and quite helpful.


I suspect the school will be firing teachers who did not immediately usher the girl into a warm car. Because obviously the school would never want a student to get frostbite and it’s the teacher’s fault for not breaking rules appropriately er I mean protecting the children.

(let’s just ignore what the conversation would have been if the teacher had broken the rules)

It’s infuriating, but I can’t fault the school - the budget simply isn’t there for a potential lawsuit, and folks could lose their jobs by violating the policy. It’s a no-win situation where you can’t make that seemingly logical call because you could be dismissed from your job automatically.

I can fault the school. There is a kid with basically no clothes on in the Winter standing outside wet. So no one offers their clothing until the kid was probably shaking like she was having a seizure before anyone thought to give her warmth. And these are people who are teaching children?

What if some kid was randomly on the street like that? Would everyone ignore saving her life because there might be something bad in it for them? I think not, but that’s the difference between people who care and become heroes and those who are robots who follow rules, no matter how inappropriate the rules are for the circumstances.


I guess we don’t need the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the rules writers just naturally come up with the proper course of action on their own.


What the fuck is wrong with peoples’ brains? If my kid was out in -5F weather, someone asshole would be getting punched in the nose.

And by punch in the nose I mean a lawsuit, of course. I’m not a savage.


Even in devil-may-care 80s/90s Europe where I went to school it was policy to call an ambulance for everything that required any medical attention at all.

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It just shows that they were more afraid of being branded a kiddie-fiddler than they were of upholding their duty-of-care.

Also, I now know why my swimming pool (in a warmer climate) tells us that they provide blankets in case of fire alarm. Not every pool does, apparently.


I think this is what makes this situating so frustrating… because if the teach had let the child in the car, that would have been it for them… :frowning:

I would think that making a student stand outside in the cold in a wet bathing suit would be at least as likely to open the school up to a lawsuit as violating the policy. It may have been a no-win situation, but in such a situation it should always be preferable to err on the side of doing the right thing, and letting the student get into a teacher’s car to stay warm is a lot more defensible than making her stand outside.

And while it’s too late in this case I hope this will lead to a revision of the policy.


This is why new teachers take classes on educational law. Teachers can defend their actions under the legal concept of “in loco parentis”. If the child is in immediate danger, teachers can act in ways that any reasonable and responsible person would do if they had access to the same set of facts. (edit: in many jurisdictions, failure to act in this capacity is grounds for charges of negligence). Even if there are rules against teachers being in cars with students, the law and the teacher’s union would back them up. Besides, the teacher could have, you know, waited outside the car…

The more you know…!


IANAL. but I would imagine that they couldn’t fire a teacher for doing that as a matter of public policy. Of course, public policy exceptions are flighty, unpredictable things, and I haven’t researched this but I feel like people go “OMG! Lawsuit!” far too quickly. Courts are still largely run by human-being judges and juries. We haven’t surrendered total control to the City Fathers* yet.

*Sci-fi James Blish Cities in Flight reference for those who are wondering. And if you are wondering, it’s well worth checking out.

Well, the “alone in the car with teacher” prohibition shouldn’t have applied if the whole damn school was right outside looking in.


Wet bus stop, she’s waiting.
His car is warm and dry

Don’t stand, don’t stand so
Don’t stand so close to me


If a parent were leaving their child out in a wet bathing suit in -5 they’d probably be investigated or even face charges.


That’s pretty much how in loco parentis is applied in case law.

That is probably totally it. The whole “stranger danger” hysteria is bullshit.