Saturday, April 27, 2002

in loco parentis
New York Times Magazine reports on a wrongful death lawsuit (regist. req'd) brought by the parents of Elizabeth Shin against MIT.
Two years after Elizabeth's death on April 14, 2000, the Shins have filed a $27 million wrongful death suit against M.I.T. in a Massachusetts superior court. The Shins claim that M.I.T., overly concerned with protecting Elizabeth's confidentiality, failed to inform them of their daughter's precipitous deterioration in the month before her death. This, they say, robbed them of a chance to oversee her care or perhaps even to save her life. M.I.T., the Shins claim, made matters worse by failing to act in their place, ''in loco parentis to the deceased.'' The school did not provide adequate, coordinated mental health care for their daughter, they claim, nor a proper emergency response to the fire.
A bright and gifted student, Elizabeth Shin's tale is one that has schools and parents across the country wondering about the role that a school may need to take.

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