Can we break up fights off school grounds?

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We typically hear that school principals or vice principals want to send their security guards and teachers off campus property to the local convenience store to break up a fight between two or more students.  We also typically hear that in California, teachers and staff have a duty under the principle of  “loco parentis” to do so under its provision” the coming and going clause.”  While duty does exist under “loco parentis”, we believe that the duty ends at the point of a non-sponsored school event.  Meaning that it only applies while providing transportation or during a walking field trip, etc…..

Our short answer on this topic is “no”, you should not send your staff to the local convenience store to break up a fight.  Call your SRO or local law enforcement agency and report your knowledge of the upcoming fight.

The California Education Code Section 44807 governs this theory.

44807. Every teacher in the public schools shall hold pupils to a strict account for their conduct on the way to and from school, on the playgrounds, or during recess. A teacher, vice principal, principal, or any other certificated employee of a school district, shall not be subject to criminal prosecution or criminal penalties for the exercise, during the performance of his duties, of the same degree of physical control over a pupil that a parent would be legally privileged to exercise but which in no event shall exceed the amount of physical control reasonably necessary to  maintain order, protect property, or protect the health and safety of pupils, or to maintain proper and appropriate conditions conducive to learning. The provisions of this section are in addition to and do not supersede the provisions of Section 49000.

44808.5.  The governing board of a school district may permit the
pupils enrolled at any high school to leave the school grounds during
the lunch period of such pupils.
   Neither the school district nor any officer or employee thereof
shall be liable for the conduct or safety of any pupil during such
time as the pupil has left the school grounds pursuant to this
section.
   In the event that the governing board grants such permission, it
shall send the following notice along with the notification of
parents and guardians required by Section 48980:
   "The governing board of the ____ School District, pursuant to
Section 44808.5 of the Education Code, has decided to permit the
pupils enrolled at ____ High School to leave the school grounds
during the lunch period.
   "Section 44808.5 of the Education Code further states:
   "" Neither the school district nor any officer or employee thereof
shall be liable for the conduct or safety of any pupil during such
time as the pupil has left the school grounds pursuant to this
section."'

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