In the place or role of a parent. This phrase identifies a foster parent, a boarding school or a custodial agency which is taking care of a minor, including protecting his or her rights. Where the entity is charged, factitiously, with a parent's rights, duties, and responsibilities.

"In loco parentis" exists when person
{sic} undertakes care and control of another in
absence of such supervision by latter's natural
parents and in absence of formal legal approval, and is
temporary in character and is not to be likened to an adoption which is permanent.
Griego v. Hogan, 71 N.M. 280, 377 P.2d 953, 955.1

Used by colleges and universities up until the 1960's as the standard to exercise parent-like control over students. Developing a code of conduct the institutions of higher learning maintained broad requirements of "appropriate behavior" in students by imposing curfews and listing "off limits" establishments students were forbidden to enter. Universities and colleges frequently abused the requirements as a way to arbitrarily expel students without providing due process. Because of this the doctrine was challenged in the 1950's and put aside during the 1960's, however, the legal doctrine holding that schools, teachers, and administrators have all the rights and powers of parents while children are in their custody has never been overruled by the US Court System.

In kindergarten through high school, this principle affects several aspects of teacher conduct and risk. Meaning that the teacher is acting as an unofficial guardian allowing the teacher some of the privileges of a parent, but also the added responsibilities for the protection of pupils. The teacher is place in a position for liability for damages caused to a pupil where the teacher's conduct falls below the standard of care commonly accepted as being reasonable in a parent-child relationship. A teacher may even have to meet a higher standard of care where special knowledge makes the teacher aware of dangers which the normal parent might not appreciate. The exact extent and nature of this responsibility and power vary from one society to another and from one school system to another. This is spelled out to some extent in the law, but much of it is determined by local custom and practice.

1 Black's Law Dictionary 787 (6th ed. 1990).

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