Accounting for Law

Questions raised over trustees' scope of power

Principals of a school have a duty to ensure the safety of students and others while on school premises, says education lawyer Sheila MacKinnon.

MacKinnon, partner with Shibley Righton LLP, weighs in on the subject in a Globe and Mail article about a special meeting recently held by Toronto Catholic District School Board trustees to discuss a trespassing order against a father who had allegedly threatened the school’s principal and physically assaulted a caretaker.

The trustees overturned the trespassing order against the man, the Globe reports, “despite provincial legislation that requires school boards to maintain a safe school environment for staff and students.”

The father was angry his daughter did not make the soccer team, the report continues.

“Based on a regulation under the Education Act, unless there’s a board policy otherwise, it’s the principal who determines if a person’s presence is detrimental to the safety or well-being of people at the school,” MacKinnon says in the Globe.

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