Do parents need to sign a liability waiver for Walking School Bus?

Attitudes toward liability vary considerably. In an informal, simple walking school bus, participants generally do not have concerns due to the loose nature of the group. In more structured programs, organizers may want to address the issue of liability. In some cases, PTO/PTA insurance will cover walking school bus volunteers. School officials may need to ask the district risk management attorney to help them find solutions to liability concerns such as the use of parent consent forms.

For more information on walking school bus including formal and informal buses, liability and training please see the Walking School Bus Guide

If you are going to have parents sign a release you can find sample forms in the Resources section of the SRTS Guide

Expanding the liability to SRTS programs in general, others have wondered if encouraging walking and bicycling to school may increase a school's liability exposure. In general, the answer is no. SRTS programs and their activities do not, in most cases, expose schools to greater liability risk than other forms of school transportation or school-sponsored activities. In fact, SRTS programs are a great tool to help minimize liability for schools by helping schools and communities identify and address potential safety concerns.

Of course schools with SRTS programs must ensure they are meeting their responsibilities for children's safety just as they routinely do with all other forms of school transportation and with other school activities. SRTS programs can vary greatly to include education programs, infrastructure improvements, and enforcement and encouragement activities. The school's responsibility for safety will vary according to the individual elements of the SRTS program and the local legal context.

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