Professor Bruce Ira Levenberg B.S., M.S., M.S., P.D., SAS, SDA, School Safety & Security Expert ::::
In this case study, a School Safety Expert was requested to determine is a school student was injured due to negligent supervision during recess.
Case Synopsis: Plaintiff, an older elementary school student, went outside for recess. At recess, the students played on a large, general purpose blacktop area adjacent to and surrounding the school on three sides. On the back side of the building there was an outdoor picnic table with attached benches, a large covered metal garbage can, and a weighty bike rack all located on the grass in a line outside the perimeter of the play area. The outdoor apparatus was situated at that location before the incident, and no one had previously been injured on them. Weather conditions were not relevant. The plaintiff was playing catch during recess with five or six other girls. She alleges that as she turned and ran to catch a ball, she tripped over the bike rack, which caught her foot, and sustained serious facial injuries.
Standard procedure at that school was when the students had free time at recess, the teacher in charge of the activity positioned herself where she could have a panoramic view of the entire class. The teacher stood near the picnic table, central to the students’ activities, approximately 15 feet from the bike rack where the plaintiff was hurt. The plaintiff admits that the location of the bike rack was well known to her, and that there were no prior injuries resulting from the bike racks or any of the outdoor equipment location.