Volume 48, Issue 7- July 2013
School District Apologizes, Settles Wired Glass Lawsuit for $2 Million
The Kent (Wash.) Unified School District is out $2 million and publicly apologizing after agreeing to settle a lawsuit stemming from a glass-related incident at one of its schools that nearly resulted in the death of a student more than five years ago.
School officials declined to comment, but sources close to the situation say the deal ends a suit brought against the school district for negligence following a December 2007 mishap in which a then-15-year-old high school student fell while climbing atop a stack of rolled up wrestling mats. The young man nearly bled to death after careening into the nearby wired glass in the gym and nearly severing off his entire arm.
He lived, but has endured extensive medical procedures in the years since with little chance of ever regaining full use of his arm again, the source says.
The unnamed student later filed suit against the school district, saying school officials should have been aware of the inherent danger and removed it from close proximity of their students.
School attorneys argued that they were not liable since the student and his parents had signed a waiver absolving them of responsibility should anything unexpected happen in an extracurricular activity.
The case has struck a personal chord for glass safety activist Greg Abel, a former law enforcement officer whose own son was seriously injured while exiting a University of Oregon sporting complex in 2001. Abel is hopeful that something good will come out of the latest tragic accident.
“It just drives me crazy,” he says. “The problem is there.
[School officials] know it’s there. They need to do something about it.”