Question of Fact Whether Board of Education Liable for Negligent Supervision of Violent Student
The Second Department determined questions of fact existed re: whether the school had notice of a student’s propensity for violent behavior. The student allegedly held plaintiff partially outside a fourth-floor window at the school. The court noted that the city was not a proper party to the suit:
“Schools are under a duty to adequately supervise the students in their charge and they will be held liable for foreseeable injuries proximately related to the absence of adequate supervision” … . “In determining whether the duty to provide adequate supervision has been breached in the context of injuries caused by the acts of fellow students, it must be established that school authorities had sufficiently specific knowledge or notice of the dangerous conduct which caused injury; that is, that the third-party acts could reasonably have been anticipated” … . Actual or constructive notice to the school of prior similar conduct generally is required, and “an injury caused by the impulsive, unanticipated act of a fellow student ordinarily will not give rise to a finding of negligence” … . A plaintiff also must establish that the alleged breach of the duty to provide adequate supervision was a proximate cause of the injuries sustained … .
Here, in support of their motion for summary judgment, the defendants failed to establish, prima facie, that the Board of Education lacked sufficiently specific knowledge or notice of the dangerous conduct that caused the injury … . The defendants’ motion papers reflect the existence of triable issues of fact as to whether the Board of Education had knowledge of the offending student’s dangerous propensities arising from his involvement in other altercations with classmates in the recent past … . Thus, the defendants failed to demonstrate their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law dismissing the cause of action sounding in negligent supervision insofar as asserted against the Board of Education. Mathis v Board of Educ. of City of New York, 2015 NY Slip Op 02459, 2nd Dept 3-25-15