It can be impossible to predict an impending tragedy. As parents, we pay attention to the big signs. We counsel our children against riding with a friend who has been drinking. We teach them to be careful when crossing streets, and to report bullying before it escalates to a dangerous level. But we can’t possibly predict when a day of fun will take a terrible turn.
Celaida Lissabet, a ninth grader at Mater Academy Charter School, was taking part in a sumo wrestling game at a school spirit party. These games are not uncommon across the country. Two or more students or teachers will dress up in oversized sumo outfits and then tackle each other. Celaida’s parents had no reason to assume there was any danger, especially since the school was sanctioning the event.
The key to these activities is proper supervision, and according to reports of what happened that day there was nowhere near the proper level of supervision. According to witnesses, Celaida’s head struck the ground multiple times before anyone bothered to check on her safety. The school claims there have not been injuries before, as if this somehow proves there was no negligence this time.
School spirit days frequently feature a variety of games, some of which can be dangerous. As a parent, the best we can do is:
- Attend with our child, making note of anything that looks risky
- Research the types of activities that are going to be offered
- Partner with other parents to ensure proper levels of supervision are maintained
- Push the school board or the PTA not to include potentially dangerous activities
Not every parent can attend every function, and sometimes we are forced to put our trust in the school and its administrators. When we do, and something still goes terribly wrong, it is important that we hold the negligent responsible to keep the same thing from ever happening again. Please, if you or a loved one has been injured during a school function, find a lawyer who can help you protect future students from the same fate.