In a story that was reported on August 1, an Illinois high school has asked the Court to dismiss the negligence case that was brought by a student who fell and injured his face while in the middle of a science experiment.
To be sure, as noted in "Student Sues in Negligence After Being Set on Fire in Science Class," the experiment that was being performed was rather unorthodox.
But the teaching point here, from the perspective of school negligence cases, should not be lost:
Outside of New York, there are many jurisdictions where it is almost impossible to prove - or win - a negligence case against a school.
Here's why: many states, like Illinois, have rules that immunize schools against liability unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that the school had engaged in "willful and wanton conduct," which is a much higher standard than simple, garden-variety negligence.