State lawmaker says PCSD could be liable for civil damages following charges

SALT LAKE CITY — Following the Summit County Attorney’s Office charging the Park City School District (PCSD) with three counts of failure to report child abuse earlier this week, a state lawmaker is saying that a 2019 bill passed by the Legislature could make the PCSD liable for civil damages in a lawsuit.

Under House Bill 391, governmental immunity is waived if it can be proven that a school district failed to implement a plan to prevent abuse.

“It means the district — and taxpayers — could be on the hook for millions in a civil lawsuit.” — Ben Winslow, Fox13

“If we have a compulsory education system and we’re requiring the children to be there, that should be the safest place on earth,” Rep. Ken Ivory (R-West Jordan) told Fox13.

“Every school has to have a policy and they have to train to the policy and make sure they’re implementing the policy… Boy, it’s hard to tell from the facts that we know right now that there’s any kind of a policy or that there’s any awareness of a policy and certainly that’s a big concern.”

Rep. Ivory said he has been in communication with Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson, who announced the charges on Monday. “As we go forward legislatively, we’ll look at are there any holes, any gaps that we need to plug based on this situation,” Rep. Ivory told Fox13.

“We take these allegations seriously and as always prioritize the safety of our students so that they can reach their academic and social potential. We ask that the public is respectful of the district administration and allows this process to play out before assuming any negligence or bad intent,” the PCSD Board said in a statement this week.

“The board fully supports the Superintendent, her administration and all our staff as they continue to provide a safe learning environment for all our students.”

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