Liability Risk for After Hours Use of Public School Property to Reduce Obesity: A Fifty State Survey

In summary, public schools in most states are subject to liability in some situations that could arise out of the recreational use of school facilities. 

Nevertheless, public schools are protected by some form of governmental immunity in all states, and they are protected in many states by recreational user statutes from lawsuits arising out of injuries from recreational activities. In addition, the law of some states limits the amount of damages that may be assessed in tort lawsuits brought against public schools. While there are real liability risks, our survey of the law of all fifty states leads us to the conclusion that these risks are unlikely to be substantial enough to justify denying recreational access to children who are at risk of obesity. Some schools may have good reasons for closing their playgrounds after hours, but we are skeptical that liability risk is among them.

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