"The Anchorage School District reported that minors did nearly $750,000 in damage over the summer to facilities and schools."
- Rep. Meyer
"An Act relating to the liability of parents and legal guardians of minors who destroy property."
CS HB 18(STA) establishes the limit on recovery of damages caused by a minor at $20,000. CS HB 18(STA) will allow for a person, municipal corporation, association, village, school district, or religious or charitable organization to recover up to $20,000 in damages from parents or guardians of a minor who knowingly destroys property. Currently, under AS 34.50.020(a), the recovery limit is $10,000.
Traditionally, Alaska has held that parents are accountable for their children's behavior, and that parents should pay restitution for damages caused by their children. In 1995, the limit for recovery was raised from $2,000 to $10,000. Often, cumulative damage to a facility exceeds the $10,000 limit, thus leaving taxpayers or organizations to bear the cost of repairs and clean up.
The large discrepancy between the $10,000 limit and the actual cost of damages incurred to property became apparent this past summer in Anchorage. The Anchorage School District reported that minors did nearly $750,000 in damage over the summer to facilities and schools. By raising the limit, the Anchorage School District will be able to recover more in cases that involve serious damage to property, rather than expending money earmarked for technology enhancement, textbooks, and personnel.
By increasing the limit, children are deterred from making decisions to vandalize and destroy property. This will also impose an additional duty on parents and legal guardians to exercise reasonable care, supervision, protection, and control over their child.