First of all, I would like to express my condolences to all those involved in this sad case.
And now I don’t know anymore
Throughout my career on the edge of the bath, I was and still am involved in liability from multiple angles. School swimming occupied a special position here. I tried to make sense of the information available, which often turned out to be insufficient. Through many studies I filled in the gaps and formed my own interpretation of what was intended with Lifeguard Pretest. The section below is therefore my personal view, not that on behalf of the Industry or other parties involved. I hope that everyone will share their knowledge by presenting additions. So that a legally well-substantiated document may appear.
The Compulsory Education Act makes education compulsory. So I can’t keep my child at home. I interpret this as follows; during school hours I was deprived of parental authority. Liability is then shifted to the school by law.
The school is then fully responsible for my child. So also during school swimming, which is part of the compulsory physical education. As a parent, I have handed over my child, forced by law, to the school in question, not to the delegates acting on behalf of that school.
This statement formed my basis, both as a parent of my school-age children and as a professional along the bath edge.
As a professional, I now know that there are usually no authorized people in the Swimming Pool Industry. Despite all the good intentions of training and Industry certifications. By qualified, I mean a person who has a 2nd or 1st degree teaching qualification which is under the control of the Ministry of Education. The time when a specialist teacher from the “Sports Academy” taught is long behind us. But the PABO teachers also did not have a “physical education” subject for many years. So school swimming was tacitly delegated to the swimming instructors. Note the typography, I deliberately do not use swimming instructors.
edge of the bath
In my practice at the edge of the bath, this principle was also clearly recognizable. The instructors taught, the primary school teacher supervised. Ergo, that teacher had the task and authority to intervene in the event of imperfections. But this required knowledge and insight that was not always mastered. Citing a quote from comedian Fons Jansen about school gymnastics for clarification; “at 1 we jump up, and at 2 we slowly go down.”
Changing clothes was a secondary point of attention. An elementary school teacher who walks into the boys’ locker room for a check is sometimes a debatable point, an elementary school teacher who walks into the girls’ locker room was guaranteed to frown.
Those changing rooms can sometimes be locked. But that is not allowed according to the fire regulations. Escape routes must remain usable.
The shower compartments are often provided with an open passage to the swimming room without obstacles. The escape route is again an element here.
I could extend the description of this case much further. By appointing at least 4 parties that are legally involved. But for now I’ll leave it at that.
However, the point of supervision versus education is obscuring for me. A swimming instructor would be responsible for safety duriang the lesson during school swimming? And a supervisor during your stay in the swimming room outside of class? I do not get that. I believe I have transferred my parental authority, forced by law, to the school.
I interpret the decision of the Supreme Court as follows:
As a parent, I have not only been deprived of parental authority but also have no direct control over delegation by the responsible school. I only have that say indirectly through the parent council, which represents the collective interest. My personal input is therefore limited.
So I hold the school responsible for my child during teaching hours. But this ruling of the Supreme Court contradicts this.
It now appears that a third party can also be liable. In this case, a keeper of a swimming pool. But as a parent, I have no say as a parent in that business organization. So how am I supposed to protect my child now?