An extreme example of the dangers present in many schools occurred in Joplin, Missouri on March 4th, 2017. A high school student was volunteering at an elementary school, mentoring young players, when he was crushed and killed by one of the basketball goals during the game. Authorities are still investigating the incident to determine exactly what went wrong.
Though this exact situation is uncommon, school premises provide a great many dangers to students. Significant injuries are unfortunately commonplace on many campuses due to years and years of deferred maintenance. School districts are frequently trying to squeeze every last dime out of their budgets, and putting off safety upgrades happens all too often because school boards and superintendents see them as a low priority.
Some of the environmental risks students face while attending school include:
- Potholed and uneven parking lots
- Cracked and uneven sidewalks
- Damaged surfaces and equipment in gymnasiums
- Old or damaged equipment in shop classes and science classes
Putting students at risk to save a few dollars is never acceptable. School districts should always put safety first, even if that means diverting dollars from popular extracurricular activities and sports. So long as the campus itself is unsafe, nothing else matters. Schools have a duty to provide a safe environment for the students who attend. Maintaining the premises and the equipment is the bare minimum a school district should do to ensure the safety of students.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident at school, determining whether or not the school fulfilled its obligations can be difficult. It often takes an expert to determine whether the accident was caused by deferred maintenance or was truly just an accident. Please, retain an experienced attorney who can help you ask the right questions to discover what led to the injury.