A Recess in Good Judgment: When Supervision Becomes Negligent


With school back in session, recess is back, and the number of children injured on playgrounds is already beginning to mount. Injuries on school property during recess and during before-school and after-school play are far too common. Broken arms, broken legs, and even head fractures are not unheard of when children play dangerous games on monkey bars and other equipment. And children are also often injured when playground bullying escalates to violence.

Schools are required to provide supervision during recess, but too many schools don’t take this requirement seriously enough. There are a number of common oversights schools make that result in dangerous playground environments. These negligent policies include:

  • Having only one or two faculty to supervise a large playground, making it impossible for those staff to actually monitor the number of children safely
  • Using support staff who are not familiar with the kids to monitor recess, meaning the staff do not know what potential dangerous situations to look for
  • The use of dangerous playground equipment, such as monkey bars, without proper protocols to make sure kids are being safe, and without a thick enough layer of wood chips or other protective surface to minimize falling injuries
  • Employing staff who socialize with each other instead of properly monitoring the playground

Of these, the most common are staff issues, either not having enough staff or having staff who don’t pay attention. Teachers and support staff see recess as a break for themselves as well as the kids, and don’t do their jobs keeping kids safe.

If your child has been injured at school, it is important that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Schools notoriously keep the same staff and protocol in place even after children are hurt, meaning more kids are in danger if you don’t do something to put an end to it. An experienced attorney will know how to help you push for the changes necessary to keep children safe.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.