My wife and I live in the Platte County School District. We have two kids, one of which started kindergarten this year.
We both work, which means we need before and after school care for our school-aged son. The YMCA provides this service at Pathfinder Elementary, which is referred to as Y-Club.
As part of the enrollment process for Y-Club, parents are required to fill out several forms. Nothing wrong with that. However, one of the forms is completely out of line – a copy of which is enclosed for your convenience.
The YMCA requires parents to sign a form that indemnifies the YMCA if a child is injured or killed while under the care and supervision of the YMCA, even if the YMCA and/or its staff is negligent. Yes, you read that correctly.
Businesses and individuals alike generally can’t exempt themselves from damage or injuries (or worse) caused by their negligence. It simply doesn’t work that way, nor should it. Courts tend to agree as well, which means the YMCA’s provisions aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. The YMCA knows this. So why force parents to sign away their rights?
Because they can. State law doesn’t appear to prohibit this practice. The Platte County School District doesn’t prohibit it either. In my opinion, it’s a scare tactic.
It’s unlikely our lawmakers in Jefferson City will address this issue – or perhaps they have already addressed it and the YMCA is in violation. I’m still looking into that. But there is an easier solution that involves the Platte County School District, and one that I hope they’ll consider.
While the Platte County School District can’t technically force the YMCA to delete their indemnification provisions (the YMCA is a separate entity, after all), they do have some level of control. I’m probably oversimplifying it, but the Platte County School District could likely prohibit any entity from including indemnification provisions in their contracts if they want to provide childcare services. I’m not married to this solution, but the issue needs to be addressed.
Would the Platte County School District sign a form that indemnifies parents and students for damage, injury or death caused as a result of the negligence of parents and students on school property? Obviously the answer is no. Why do they allow the YMCA to do it?
Platte County Resident
Kansas City, MO 64154