Garden Grove Unified School District: Sick Students and School Negligence

Every child gets sick at some point. Whether it’s a student coming down with chicken pocks or a child will come home from school with a newly contracted fever or an upset stomach. In each case, it’s important that the school and the nurse on staff do what they can to isolate that child and try their best to keep the illness from spreading. Sometimes, however, they do not act quickly enough – and sometimes don’t even have a plan to act at all.

Such was the claim in the case of Debi French, a La Quinta High School senior who contracted tuberculosis and had to have a lung removed as a result. It was found that 12 students had come down with the disease, and Debi had a form resistant to modern drugs. She and her parents sued Garden Grove Unified School District for negligence, claiming that the school did not act appropriately upon the discovery of the student who first contracted it.

Exhaustive research did not unveil a case summary, so it’s unclear if a lawsuit was even filed. Nor was the result or a follow-up story able to be found, however part of the claim stated that Debi’s family members also got the disease, as a result of Debi getting it.

Garden Grove Unified School District At a Glance

Nested in Orange County, Garden Grove serves the cities of Anaheim, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Cypress, Stanton and Westminster. Approximately 48,000 students are enrolled in the 66 schools across the district. It has a nearly $600 million budget, only 3.3 percent of which is devoted to administrative salaries.

Negligence comes in many forms. School employees of all kinds have to be particularly careful in this regard, as something they may consider harmless. For example, a gym teacher sitting in his office and not keeping an eye on the kids could find himself embroiled in a negligence lawsuit, especially if two students get in a fight and he is not there to break it up. That teacher did not do his duty properly, and the same can happen if a student falls ill.

How Does School District Negligence Happen If a Student Gets Sick?

Especially when a student has asthma or an allergy that prevents them from eating certain foods, schools are expected to keep an illness from happening in the first place. This is the case that Debi and her parents made; other students had contracted tuberculosis well before Debi did, the school should have done more to prevent other students from falling ill as well. In this regard, the school needs to have a medical policy that covers the protocol in case a student allergic to peanuts falls into anaphylactic shock, or if a student has an asthma attack.

Any perceived disregard towards chronic illnesses or spreading diseases could be a safety code violation and lead to a school being sued for negligence. This is why most schools have very carefully worded policies when it comes to the identification and medication of a student’s illness, as well as adequate training for all teachers as to what the necessary steps are for reacting to a potential emergency.

These are examples of what happens when a school is negligent when it comes to the health of their students. There are many other ways a school could be found negligent, however, and when that happens, you’ll need an expert attorney on your side. These are just a few:

We hope that none of these horrible things happen, but if they do, Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP can handle the case. Our attorneys have the resources, experience and knowledge to bring justice in a case against Garden Grove Unified School District, and our representation can handle a district of this size. Call us or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation.