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Cipolla v. Bloom Twp. High Sch. Dist. No. 206

OPINION FILED FEBRUARY 22, 1979.

CHRISTOPHER L. CIPOLLA, A MINOR, BY ANGELO CIPOLLA, HIS FATHER AND NEXT FRIEND, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

BLOOM TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 206, A/K/A BLOOM TRAIL DIVISION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. LOUIS J. GILIBERTO, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE LINN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiff brought this action in the circuit court of Cook County, on behalf of his minor son, Christopher Cipolla, to recover for injuries sustained by the minor as a result of an altercation during a student disturbance at Bloom Trail High School. Defendant, Bloom Township High School District No. 206, moved to strike and dismiss the fourth amended complaint for failure to state a cause of action. Defendant's motion was granted and plaintiff appeals, contending in the alternative: (1) that plaintiff need only allege and prove ordinary negligence to recover from defendant, or (2) that the allegations of the complaint, if proven, would sustain a finding of willful and wanton misconduct.

We affirm the decision of the trial court.

On September 7, 1976, Christopher Cipolla was a student at Bloom Trail High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois. Christopher was attacked and beaten as he stood outside the counselor's office on the school premises.

The fourth amended complaint alleged that Christopher's injuries were the proximate result of defendant's failure to do the following acts:

"provide any supervision in hallway areas;

provide any guards whatsoever to protect students in and upon said hallways;

provide any rules or regulations governing the activities upon said school grounds and in said classrooms or in the alternative * * * enforce the rules;

come to the aid of a student being attacked."

The complaint characterized defendant's alleged failure to act as willful and wanton.

OPINION

I

The first issue arises from plaintiff's contention that allegations of ordinary negligence are sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss in this case. Plaintiff concedes that school districts are generally held immune from liability for ordinary negligence towards students. This immunity arises from two identical provisions of the School Code which give educators in loco parentis status in their relationships with students. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 122, pars. 24-24 and 34-84a.

In the leading case of Kobylanski v. Chicago Board of Education (1976), 63 Ill.2d 165, 347 N.E.2d 705, our supreme court likened the immunity conferred upon educators by the School Code to the status of parent or guardian and held that the immunity extended to nondisciplinary as well as disciplinary matters. However, the court also acknowledged that the parties did not dispute the fact "that a parent is not liable for injuries to his child absent wilful and wanton ...


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