Long Beach Unified School District Negligence Attorneys
School district negligence can come in many different shapes and sizes. In some cases it may be an unsafe bus stop, defective playground equipment, or even abuse from a teacher or school employee. In some cases, fights between students may lead to cases of neglect or negligence. If a fight happens at school, however, the teachers or administrators are responsible for ensuring that it doesn’t escalate beyond that. If they don’t act, or even if the fight happens beyond the sight of any school employee, that school can still be found negligent if a child is badly injured or worse.
This is what happened when two 10-year old girl students had a fight at the Long Beach Unified School District’s Frances Willard Elementary School. They were fighting over a boy, and it was organized to occur after school; something that has likely gone down between quite a few elementary and middle school girls, and a plot point that has been played up numerous times in television shows. But this one did not end well; Joanna Ramos died of a blood clot as a direct result of this fight. Her tragic death was ruled a homicide, but charges were never brought. The very next day Ramos’ mother filed a lawsuit against Long Beach Unified School District for negligence.
Long Beach USD At a Glance
The Long Beach Unified School District educates approximately 79,000 students across 85 schools, and that includes Avalon on Catalina Island, along with Signal Hill, Lakewood and of course Long Beach. The majority of students (55 percent) are Hispanic, and they were actually the first public school system to implement a dress code for their K-8 students.
The aforementioned lawsuit unfortunately has its predecessors. Students have gotten in fights in the past, and it will happen again. In California there are numerous ways that a lawsuit for negligence can be filed, namely if there was a breach of duty and said breach of duty caused injuries. In the Ramos lawsuit, this was certainly the case; death and serious injury could have been easily avoided.
Fights on school grounds usually involve disciplinary actions for the students involved, but deaths such as Ramos have happened before. Such was the case of Dailey v. Los Angeles USD(1970), in which a Dailey died as a result of a fight. The two were engaged in “slap-boxing” in the gymnasium during lunch hour, and it was discovered that the teacher who was supposed to be supervising was in his office eating and talking on the phone. His death in the fight alone did not automatically mean negligence, but when it was discovered that the teacher was not doing his duty, along with lax guidelines in terms of a set schedule by the school, the district and the school was found to be negligent.
Gym class is where a lot of accidents can happen, due to the physical nature of the activities. If a student rolls an ankle playing basketball, the teacher nor the school would be found in negligence because that is considered an inherent risk of the sport. However, in the case of Hemady v. Long Beach USD(2006), in which Hemady was struck in the face by a golf club during a golfing session in gym. He was awarded damages caused largely because being hit by a club is not an inherent risk of the sport.
While accidents can happen, students should absolutely be kept from fighting and, especially in gym class, closely supervised in case some students don’t know how to play the activity or turn violent towards a classmate.
Other Types of School Negligence
There are quite a few scenarios in which a school in the Long Beach USD can be found liable for negligence. If any one of them ever happens to your child, you’ll need an expert attorney to help you navigate the legal paperwork of filing a lawsuit. Here are just a few examples:
- Playground injuries
- Bus accident injuries
- School safety code violations
- Inadequate supervision
- Death of a student
- Sexual or physical abuse by a teacher or administrator
- Sports injuries
We hope that no student ever succumbs to any of these terrible circumstances, but if it does happen, our Long Beach Unified School District attorneys have the knowledge and resources to hold negligent parties responsible. Call Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP at 877.800.1700 or fill out our online contact form for a free and confidential consultation.