Teenager David Fields was reunited with his mother early Friday morning after being locked inside Roosevelt Middle School in Philadelphia for about nine hours Thursday.
During the news coverage his mother was sure to mention she arrive at his school extra early the next morning to fill out paperwork “because something needed to be done”… and by ‘something’ she meant establish negligence… and by negligence she meant sue.
It’s easy to see this incident and immediately think “lawsuit”. But before we get all litigious on they *ss, let’s look at the facts first.
With what I know so far, I’d assume the school’s janitors have a standard lock-down policy. One policy for allowing anyone in the school after hours and one to sweep the property.
There does not appear to be any psychological or physical damage to the kid. In fact, he seemed only slightly annoyed. His mom seemed more affected than he was which often leads to frivolous legal actions.
However, if there is an area of a school that could cause a child harm, in any way, it should be inaccessible to passers by. I can see a school board ordering the administrators to take a closer look at both their safety measures and their daily lock-down policies.
They’ve obviously failed on the sweep ~ so shame on them there. On the matter of letting “anyone” in the school after hours bravo. But even still, good judgement might’ve led them to deny entry to the mother and at least sweep the school again.
Either way, with the child showing no immediate damages I hope there isn’t a rush to litigate. All the school has to do right now is focus on their policies and comment on their anti-bullying policies.
I can’t see any “real” grounds for a serious suit that would benefit the family in any way. Further, I can’t see a judicial body looking at THIS issue and penalizing the district’s purse ~ already understaffed/underfunded ~ with a hefty financial judgement. That would put other kids in even more danger.
If I were a school administrator I would issue a statement on the off-duty staff’s policies and trumpet our anti-bullying stance. That’ll at least buffer as much public outcry as possible for now.
Fortunately, this “incident” will likely fade away with no recourse other than an embarrassed kid and some mild janitorial actions.