AbstractThis paper examines the concept of in loco parentis in the light of its legal origins and considers its relevance to contemporary schooling, particularly the professional responsibilities of teachers. It is argued that from a legal perspective, in loco parentis is now largely an anachronism in New Zealand education, although it appears to have some limited application in non-compulsory and out-of-school-hours educational activities. From an ethical point of view, the concept remains useful because it stresses the duty of care that professional teachers have towards their students. However, teachers need to be clear about its extremely limited legal relevance as either a source of teacher authority or a legal basis for teachers to attend to the health and well-being of their students. In the main, its old functions have been superseded by much more specific legislation.
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