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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Legal liability of the physical educator in Canada McNulty, Patricia Mae


The purpose of this study was to examine and interpret the legal decisions of the Canadian courts in litigation concerning tort liability on the part of the physical education teacher and coach in the gymnasium, on the playing field, in the community recreation classes and on athletic trips up to and including early 1975. Basically, the answers to the following questions were sought: (1) What is negligence in law and how does this apply to the Physical Education teacher? (2) If a teacher is involved in a law suit what legal defenses are open to him or her? (3) What are some of the areas in the school system which a teacher should be particularly aware of in terms of potential legal problems? The study aimed to stimulates (1) an appreciation for protecting the student in the school environment and on athletic trips (2) an understanding of the basic precepts of liability that might have an adverse or constructive effect on the school program (3) a realization that loss of professional integrity and financial loss can be painful consequences of one's liability. An attempt was made to clarify basic legal issues in the area of tort liability that concerns the physical educator in Canada, and to point out issues that the Physical Education teacher should be aware of in evaluating activities in the light of possible repercussions. Also, where major problems were discovered concerning the P.E. teacher's legal status in Canada, recommendations were made as to solutions to these problems. The research was carried out through an investigation of Canadian court cases relating to the topic of legal liability and the physical education teacher. From these cases it was possible to establish some basic legal principles concerning teacher liability in the classroom, in the gymnasium, on the playing field and on trips away from the school environment.

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