Opening School Facilities to Private Youth Programs — A Legal Analysis

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In his overview analysis, Professor Tom Baker wrote that “public schools in most states are subject to liability in some situations that could arise out of the recreational use of school facilities.” 

Should public schools open their spaces for public use after school hours? Can outside youth-serving programs use these facilities for programs and recreational activities? What risks do schools face?

In 2008, the National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity sought to answer some of these questions through a survey it commissioned by a well-known insurance and tort law scholar, Professor Tom Baker of the University of Pennsylvania. NPLAN and Baker created the resulting 50-state survey to help prevent childhood obesity through the opening of public school buildings for recreational uses after hours.  

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