December 11, 2009
In Service Of The School
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has held that a high school math teacher who was injured skiing while serving as a chaperone to the ski club was acting within the course of employment:
...it is clear that the employee's skiing as a chaperone arose out of and in the course of her employment as a teacher, even though her participation as a chaperone was voluntary. First, it was customary for teachers to serve as chaperones for the ski club's trips and to perform many of their functions as teachers while they did. The chaperones were responsible for supervising student behavior, enforcing school rules, and monitoring student safety. These supervisory responsibilities are essentially the same ones teachers must exercise while working in the school building during school hours. In order to fulfil these responsibilities while the students were skiing, the chaperones were expected to ski with the students. Indeed, accompanying the students on the ski slopes was the only effective way to monitor the students while they skied. Furthermore, at the time of the employee's injury, she was skiing with the students she was charged with monitoring, rather than skiing recreationally on her own.
The matter is Sikorski's Case, decided today. Good news for those, such as myself, who risk life, limb and professorial dignity to participate in an annual school-related charity basketball game. (Mike Frisch)
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