School Safety Expert Witness Discusses Student Injury on Playground

Michael Talve, CEO

Written by
— Updated on September 26, 2017

This case involves an injury to an elementary school student. The plaintiff, an eight-year-old boy, was playing outside during his class recess. The students were permitted to play on a large field but were prohibited from going on the playground because of construction. Yet, the safety measures only consisted of a warning given to students prior to going outside. There were only three teachers assigned to monitor the two hundred students playing outside. The plaintiff wandered onto the construction site that was empty as construction crew had left for lunch. A large piece of lumber fell onto the child, severely injuring him. The plaintiff sustained a broken leg and a dislocated shoulder.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. What measures should a school take when there is a dangerous condition around students?

Expert Witness Response

When a school has a dangerous condition on or near school grounds, the school has an obligation to protect students from the condition. In this specific case, warning signs, specific instructions given to the students, and proper supervision are all essential to ensure that students are protected. Additionally, the school should instruct the construction crew to be mindful of the presence of students. Given the facts of this case, more than three teachers should have been monitoring the students, with one teacher/ supervisor stationed in between the construction site and the field where the students were permitted to play. Additionally, numerous warnings and signs should have been posted at the site, warning students of the dangerous conditions. I have over thirty years of experience in the education field, and I have encountered numerous cases involving school safety and procedures.

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