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Education 525: Ethics and Law in Education

Assignment #1: Student Drivers

Sarah Astle, Erin Davidson, Jenny Le and Vickey Wong



On June 9, 2017, two Peter Lougheed High School students, Sylvia Ballard and Prim

Jasmin, were involved in a car accident while driving back to school from a physical education

activity. This incident occurred on a highway outside of Okatoks.

Sylvia Ballard, a 16-year-old student, pleaded guilty to Driving Carelessly under section

115(2)(b) of the Traffic Safety Act of Alberta. Ballard was the driver in a rollover accident,

which resulted in the injury of Prim Jasmin, a 17-year-old student. We will determine the

liability of each party using the five elements of negligence.

1. Duty of Care: A party is responsible to provide a standard of care for others to ensure that

any foreseeable injuries are prevented.

2. Standard of Care: ​Under the duty of care, an individual has the responsibility to provide

care that is up to the standard of the ‘reasonable person’ (Schroeder, 2013).

3. Foreseeability: An individual must be able to anticipate the consequences of their

decisions and the damage or injury that will result to those in their care.

4. Causality: As a result of negligence, the defendant breached the Duty of Care, causing

injuries or loss to the plaintiff.

5. Damages: The damages that ensued from the negligence of the defendant.

(​EDUC 525, October 3, PowerPoint 6, Slide 35)

Sylvia Ballard - 16-year-old driver

Duty of Care:​ ​As the driver and owner of the vehicle, it was Ballard’s responsibility to protect

Jasmin. Ballard breached the duty of care by failing to provide Jasmin with an operative seat

belt. According to her parents, Ballard was aware that the passenger seat belt was not operating

and was told not to allow anyone to ride in the passenger seat.

Standard of Care:​ ​Ballard allowed Jasmin to ride in the passenger seat with an inoperative seat

belt. These conditions did not meet the standard of care​.

Foreseeability:​ ​It was foreseeable that the lack of a functioning seat belt could jeopardize safety.

It was also foreseeable that failing to slow down and anticipate potential barriers would increase

the likelihood of an accident.

Causality:​ Ballard’s negligent driving resulted in the rollover, injuring Jasmin.

Prim Jasmin - 17-year-old passenger

Duty of Care:​ ​According to the Alberta Traffic Safety Act (2017) and Transportation Guidelines

for Students provided by Peter Lougheed High School, every individual in a vehicle must wear a

seat belt​. It was Jasmin’s responsibility to find, and use, a functioning seat belt.

Standard of Care:​ ​Jasmin stated that she was aware of a conversation about the inoperable seat

belt. Despite this awareness, Jasmin still sat in the front passenger seat.

Foreseeability:​ It was foreseeable that getting into a vehicle with an inexperienced driver and

inoperative seat belt posed a risk to Jasmin’s safety.

Causality:​ Jasmin failed to take initiative for her own safety. This negligence contributed to her


Lindsay Waterman - Teacher

Duty of Care:​ ​According to the principle of​ in loco parentis​, Waterman held the responsibilities

of a caring parent (​EDUC 525, October 5, PowerPoint 7, Slide 32)​. As the teacher, it was

Waterman’s duty to adhere to the school policy and to provide students with a safe field trip,

including transportation. She did not fulfill this duty.

Standard of Care:​ ​As students were dismissed 25 minutes prior to dismissal, Ballard and Jasmin

were still under the supervision of Waterman. Teachers are responsible for supervising all

activities on board regulated field trips. Any unplanned situations must be prevented (Bain v.

CBE, 1993).

Foreseeability:​ ​It was foreseeable that failing to determine the location of the facility could

increase the potential for rural driving, breaching school policy and putting students at risk.

Causality:​ ​If Waterman had confirmed the location of the facility, it would have been revealed

that it was outside of city limits. This would have prohibited Ballard from driving Jasmin.

Principal of the Peter Lougheed High School

Duty of Care:​ ​Section 20 (f) of the Alberta School Act reveals the Principal’s responsibility to

maintain order “during activities sponsored or approved by the board”. The Principal breached

this duty by failing to confirm field trip details and by neglecting to ensure all staff was aware of

school policy.

Standard of Care:​ ​It was the Principal’s responsibility to make sure the field trip followed policy.

According to the School District Administrative Policy, no secondary students are permitted to

drive other students to school-sponsored activities outside of town limits during school hours.

Foreseeability:​ ​Had the Principal analyzed the field trip plan, any issues with transportation

could have been foreseen and prevented.


Causality:​ ​The Principal approved Waterman’s field trip without confirming the details, allowing

students to drive others outside of city limits. He also failed to ensure all staff was following the

School District Administrative Policy.

Okatoks School District

Duty of Care:​ Peter Lougheed High School is one of three schools in the Okatoks School

District. The Principal at Peter Lougheed High allowed for a negligent policy to remain in place.

The School District is responsible for the Principal’s actions.

Standard of Care:​ The School District Administrative Policy Transportation Guidelines for

Students allowed students to drive each other within city limits. Administrators from the other

two schools changed their School policy to increase safety. By not establishing a safe and

consistent policy, the Okatoks School District failed to provide a reasonable standard of care.

Foreseeability:​ ​It was foreseeable that the policy put in place by the School District would allow

for inexperienced drivers to transport other students.

Causality:​ ​A policy that prohibited student driving to activities would have prevented the


Injuries and Damages

As a result of the accident, Jasmin is quadriplegic. There are substantial general and

special damages associated with this incident (​EDUC 525, October 3, PowerPoint 6, Slide 31)​.

As her injuries were extensive, she will be dependent on others and will require additional

medical attention for the remainder of her life.


While Ballard, and, through vicarious liability, her parents, should be held liable 20% of

the damages, we believe other parties contributed to the situation.

According to ​volenti non fit injuria,​ you cannot claim for an injury for which you

volunteered (EDUC 525, October 3, PowerPoint 6, Slide 25-26). Jasmin voluntarily entered

Ballard’s vehicle and sat in the passenger seat. Jasmin should be held liable for 5% of damages.

Waterman should be liable for 20% of the damages as she failed to provide appropriate

care for her students by not confirming all details necessary for a safe field trip.

Due to the negligent policy in place by Peter Lougheed High School, we have allocated a

shared liability of 55% to the Principal of Peter Lougheed High School and the Okatoks School

District. The board has an insurance policy in place which is required under Section 54(1) of the

School Act of Alberta.

Excellent work!. 
Your analysis is strong and well supported by in-text referencing. You have correctly 
assessed liability to more than one party. With regard to the School District, the Board 
is vicariously liable due to the principal and the teacher not following the school’s 
Transportation Guidelines for Students. The teacher submitted, and the Principal 
approved the field trip, in violation of school policy. Thus, the school approved a 
school sponsored event to an out of town venue and permitted students to drive 
students in contravention of policy. If the event was to be held at the Countryside Golf 
Club students should not have been driving themselves and other students. This was a 
school sponsored event and therefore a breach of policy for which the Board is 
vicariously liable. 
If you want to argue, as you did, the high school should have a different policy you 
can go there, but remember the courts will give difference to school officials. The 
courts will however, hold the school and the district to their policies and processes. In 
this case, the school did not follow the policy they had in place, which if followed, 
would have prevented the accident. Given the duty of care, and the serious breach of 
policy, I would accordingly change the apportioned responsibility for damages. I 

would see the Board substantially more liable and apportion the remaining to Ballard 
and Prim for the reasons you have cited. 
Very solid use of APA……Excellent work! ……A 


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Parsons, D. (2017). October 3, 2017​ ​Class #6​ ​[in-class discussion]. Retrieved from University of


Parsons, D. (2017). October 5, 2017​ ​Class #7​ ​[in-class discussion]. Retrieved from University of


School Act, Revised Statutes of Alberta. (2000, Chapter S-3). Retrieved from

Schroeder, R. (2013). ​Canadian law 12: Negligence and other torts. ​Retrieved from:


Traffic Safety Act​, RSA 2000 c T-6. Retrieved from