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Should I drive students home after school practices?


Q: As a teacher and coach I sometimes wait with students who need a ride home after practice. My principal suggested I drive kids in my car. Do you think I should give kids a ride?

A: NO. If your principal assigned you to drive students in your personal vehicle, get written confirmation of the assignment and make sure that you are covered by the school board automobile liability insurance. You should also be reimbursed for mileage or expenses. If driving is not assigned and insured by the school, I strongly recommend you not volunteer to carry students in your car.

Why? Traffic accidents are common, even for the most careful driver. You or your automobile insurance might have to pay medical expenses or damages if a student is injured in your car. Check with your own insurance agent about your coverage before you give students rides.

Another reason to be wary: your Association Educator's Employment Liability Insurance does NOT cover the ownership, operation, use, loading, or unloading of vehicles. (Exceptions provide coverage for school employees assigned to driver training, riding as a passenger in the course of educational employment activities, delivering vocational educational instruction, and supervising students entering or exiting a bus.)

Even if you have automobile insurance and are willing to risk a traffic accident, being alone in your car with a student or students exposes you to accusations of inappropriate behavior or speech. I prefer a teacher and coach not get confused with a chauffeur or friend by giving the student a ride.

Your UniServ director can help you deal with the principal to confirm assignment and insurance to drive students, review school procedures for students left at school after practice, or consider whether problems with a student left at school trigger your statutory obligation to report suspected abuse or neglect. I am glad you are a VEA member and consulted the Association.

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