As we approach the end of the school year, a lot of schools are going to plan special activities for their students. Many of these duties will fall on the school’s PTA or other parent organization. Field days, carnivals and other events often prove fun and even profitable endeavors. They are great ways for communities to support schools, and vice versa.
Nevertheless, organizing a PTA event takes a fair amount of risk management. This is a special occurrence. That means students, staff and others will enter a situation with which they are not familiar. If someone were to get hurt during the event, the responsibility might fall on the PTA to cover the damage. It’s up to PTA organizers to take steps to prevent accidents before they strike. Careful planning and safety rules can often save the day in these situations.
Organizing Safety Rules for PTA Events
If you are in charge of a PTA event, your first priority should be to ensure the safety of participants. This will likely involve several steps.
- Ensure you have the right form of liability insurance for the event. Often, the school’s liability policy can extend coverage to PTA events. However, this isn’t always the case. Many PTA groups take out policies explicitly in the name of the organization. If a liability or property damage claim arises, the PTA can handle the claim internally.
- Take a look at your school system’s policies for holding special events. Do students need permission to participate? Will you need to take any special precautions when setting up the event? Make sure you have all clerical tasks handled to the letter.
- Only use materials provided from reputable suppliers. Obtain food, party equipment and other items through legal, documented means. Keep all your receipts and contracts on file for these events.
- Do you need to have security or medical care providers on the premises? School or local policy sometimes requires certain safety authorities to attend large events.
- Establish clear safety rules for all participants. Those who break the rules should receive warnings or ejection from the event.
- Train workers or volunteers on how to handle problems like injuries, fights or other disruptions. Use only trustworthy, qualified individuals as volunteers.
- Keep a first-aid kit on hand to immediately respond if someone gets hurt.
Should an injury or other damage occur, document the occurrence for your own records. Refer to this record if any legal problems develop. Then, turn to your liability insurance in case you need more help settling the problem.