When we send our kids to school, we have certain expectations of their
safety and wellbeing. Getting a phone call from the school that your child
has been injured can leave parents feeling helpless, angry, and unsure
of their next steps. When a child is hurt at school or while involved
in a school activity, it is important to determine who is responsible.
Even if the school or school employees did not directly cause the accident
causing the injury, it is possible that the school district is still at fault.
While at first glance it may seem as though another child is at fault in
the incident. However, if it can be determined that the school failed
to take necessary action to prevent an incident, they are at fault. For
example, if another child hits your child at school, it may seem to be
an issue of “kids being kids”, but if the school was aware
of previously violent behavior and failed to act, they can be proven to
Instances of Negligence on School Property
1. School Bus Incidents
School bus drivers have a responsibility to keep our children safe. When
accidents occur on the road, injuries can happen. It’s important
to determine whether the driver had been adequately trained, if the bus
was well maintained and well designed, and that the school driver or school
employee was not being negligent. Negligence can also be determined on
the part of the other driver involved in the crash, so it is important
to obtain a police report and photos of the scene.
2. Playground Accidents
Playground accidents fall under premises liability. If a playground is
not well maintained or structurally sound, it should never be in use.
Defective equipment on the playground can either be due to lack of maintenance
from the school, or improper manufacturer design. Lack of supervision
on the playground can also lead to injuries. It is the responsibility
of the supervising adult on the playground to ensure that all play is
done in a safe way. Playground falls, suffocation, and bullying can all
lead to injuries that could be prevented with proper supervision.
3. Food Poisoning
According to the National School Lunch Program, nearly 100,000 schools/institutions
serve school lunches to 30.4 million students each day. With numbers this
high, it is no wonder that food poisoning incidents can occur. Food poisoning
can occur when food is not properly stored, washed, or cooked. While food
can become contaminated before reaching the school, it is also possible
for cafeteria staff to improperly manage food that is being served to students.
4. Injuries during Sports/Play Time
It is very possible that injuries while playing sports or playing in general
are genuine accidents with no fault found on either side. While children
learn to control their bodies in motion, unwanted collisions, falls, and
other injuries can occur. It is when inadequate supervision or faulty
equipment comes into play that negligence can be determined. Students
playing sports or other games should always be monitored by a first aid
certified adult, and all equipment should be well maintained and routinely
examined for wear and tear.
5. Slip and Fall
In winter and rainy months, sidewalks can become slick with ice or water.
Spills in the cafeteria and hallways can also lead to slip and falls.
If your child falls as a result of a slippery surface, indoors or out,
it is possible that school maintenance did not take the proper precautions
to counteract the problems. Wet areas should always be covered up and
marked by a “Wet Floor” sign. Spills should be taken care
of by a supervising adult as soon as possible. Additionally, in winter
months, the school district has the responsibility to shovel snow in a
timely manner and lay down sand and salt to prevent ice from accumulating.
A hurt child is every parent’s nightmare, but by having a plan in
case the worst occurs, you can take the proper steps towards the recovery
process. If your child is hurt while at school, call the Long Island personal