With the continued news on campus crime like the tragedy at Virginia Tech and the potential danger on all college campuses on the rise, we need answers more than ever on how to make college life safer, and how we should fairly and reasonably allocate the rights and responsibilities of students and universities. Presently, university safety law does not send a clear message on how that issue should be met.
Historically, courts believed that the American university stood for the most part in loco parentis (in place of parents), insulated from legal scrutiny, and like governments, considered to be an institution outside the safety rules of the legal system, in a sense above the law. Of course, in its inception, in loco parentis, was more about the university rights and powers over the student, not their duties towards their students.
In general, negligence law is the major vehicle by which people sue universities. Those claims are various: negligent maintenance of premises, negligent security, negligent representations, negligent failure to give reasonable warnings, negligent failure to control or protect against dangerous persons, negligent supervision of school activities such as a field trip or lab experiment. Dan Monahan is an experienced school violence lawyer, fully versed in school violence case law. The Monahan Law Practice works through the courts to help our clients attain fair compensation for injuries and losses.