- Alice is 17 (a legal minor).
- Alice attends the 12th grade at Bob High School (BHS), a California public high school.
- BHS loans Alice a laptop to do her school work.
- As a condition of receiving the loan of the computer, BHS required Alice’s parents, Carol and David, to sign an agreement accepting financial responsibility for the computer including but not limited to any damage Alice might do to the computer.
- While at school, an unknown person steals Alice’s computer.
- BHS bills Carol and David for the replacement cost of the computer.
- Carol and David take the position that, as a minor, Alice was under the care of BHS (per the doctrine of in loco parentis) when the computer was stolen and, therefore, BHS is liable for the theft.
Can BHS successfully hold Bob and Carol financially liable for Alice’s stolen computer?
Does the answer depend on the language of the agreement? Or is there a legal principle which prevents BHS from transferring legal liability to Carol and David?