In Loco Parentis

Wow, what a snow storm in Bryce Valley! Last week did Tropic ever get the snow. The custodians and maintenance staff were busy all over the district clearing snow only to have it hit again. During Monday, power was lost at several of the schools with disruptions in instruction, pickup and delivery, and school lunch services. In the process, some parents were irritated that we even had school at all.

In Utah, we are governed by a compulsory education law that mandates that all our students go to school for 180 days a year and are subject to at least 990 hours of organized classroom instruction put in school law or rule. As a result, our expectation is to provide 180 days of instruction with minimal if any interruptions. When a day such as Monday occurs, our options are to close school or continue with the advertised school year. By closing school, we expose ourselves to a possible make up scenario where both students and teachers have to come in on a Saturday, holiday, or summer vacation day to make up the lost day(s). Besides being an inconvenience for parents, students, and staff remember our schools were ready for school the day that was canceled. We had school lunch started, rooms were cleaned, some students and staff may have already arrived at school. A canceled day at that point merely increases the expenses we have already born to deliver a day of school.

In Utah, schools observe the conferring of rights known as “in loco parentis.” Originally articulated in 1769 by Sir William Blackstone, his assertion was that part of parental authority is delegated to school masters to educate and administer restraint and correction to students.

Tracy Davis