A spokesman for the Iowa Department of Education says an Iowa Supreme Court ruling issued Friday that injury waivers for children on field trips are unenforceable likely won’t have a big immediate impact on a lot of schools. (Story on court ruling)
Phil Roeder says the department doesn’t have any rules regarding the waivers, but will help advise districts on the issue.
Roeder says the department always advises districts of new decisions in the law when they come down and what those decisions might mean. He says districts are under local control, so policies might vary from district to district. Reader says the Ed Department’s legal expert gives districts suggestions on the issue.
Roeder says the department’s attorney has told districts that they might want to consider waiver slips that acknowledge a common risk. For example, if the trip is to a baseball game, they acknowledge there is the possibility of getting hit with a foul ball. Roeder says the decision shouldn’t hamper the extracurricular activities in the school districts.
Roeder says,”There are ways to do this differently that are realistic and would be away from what the court said was the wrong way to do it.” He says the districts can use those alternatives and still continue the field trips they have been doing.
The Supreme Court ruling came in a Black Hawk County case involving a 14-year-old who was on a field trip sponsored by the University of Northern Iowa.