Kristin Whitley
Briana Collier


561 So.2d 1100 (1990)
A.C. STEVENS, et al.

v.

Donnie CHESTEEN.
89-129.
Supreme Court of Alabama.
April 12, 1990.


Background:
Fourteen year old Timothy M. Stevens was excused, by a surgeon, from participating in physical activity including physical education class. Stevens had a prior knee injury and was instructed by the doctor to refrain from strenuous or hazardous activity that could result in further injury to his knee. Stevens’ physical education teacher, Donnie Chesteen, was aware of the medical excuse. Chesteen instructed Stevens to go to the football field with the rest of the class but allowed him to stand on the sideline while the rest of the class participated in touch football. While standing on the sideline, Stevens’ attention was diverted elsewhere; a classmate then ran into Stevens which consequently resulted in further injury and additional surgery to his knee. Stevens alleges that Chesteen was negligent because he was not seen after the class went to the field and was not present when the injury occurred. Chesteen maintains he was present at the time of the injury. He also argues that Stevens’ was not “ordered” to participate in physical education or that he was “forced” to go to a dangerous area. Chesteen said that he was well aware of Stevens’ doctor’s instructions and did excuse Stevens from participation.

Decision/Rationale:
The court ruled that they are satisfied that the trial court properly entered the summary judgment in favor of the defendant, Donnie Chesteen. They found that the affidavits produced by Timothy do not show that Chesteen breached any duty that may have been owed to him. The affidavits and depositions in the record clearly indicate that Timothy was not participating in a physical education class and was not on the playing field either before or at the time the accident occurred. There is no evidence to indicate that Chesteen forced Timothy to go to the field or to the stadium. Therefore, the court ruled in favor of the defendant, Donnie Chesteen.

Impact on Teaching:
This case is important to educators because it deals with “reasonable supervision.” There is no way that a teacher can give personal attention to every student all of the time, especially in a physical education class. The fact that each student may not be personally supervised every moment of each school day does not constitute fault on the part of the School Board or its employees. As educators we will have students that have accidents while under our supervision. It becomes an issue when our presence and/or supervision would have prevented an incident from occurring.

Question:
True/ False: A brief absence from the class constitutes a breach of duty of reasonable supervision. (false)