A school district in West Virginia has made the decision to remove all swing sets from school playgrounds. The removal of the playgrounds from all Cabell County elementary schools is the result of a lawsuit in which the district was forced to pay a $20,000 settlement. It was the second lawsuit for the district this year over swing set injuries. The other lawsuit is still pending.
According to the school’s safety manager, Tim Stewart, the removal of the swings comes after a child broke his arm after having jumped out of a swing, like “Superman.”
The schools are removing the swings to reduce liability. Because of recent changes to national safety standards, it has become difficult for schools to defend against such liability claims.
These newer standards now require a rubber based padding to be added to the bottom of the swing and play area. The school district only had mulch, the previously accepted material, in place. The cost of investing in the padding is too high for the school district, at $7500 per swing set.
Some are concerned that parks in the area will also be pulling up the posts due to the inability to meet these harsher requirements in place.
The school district did say it plans to keep the monkey bars in place, as it can meet with the safety requirements for that play set.
Many school districts across the country are wrestling with the same issue. Even if the rubber based padding is installed there is no guarantee that injuries or lawsuits will stop. Some school districts made this tough choice years ago.
One such example is in Nevada, where the Clark County School District started removing swing sets from elementary schools in 1995.
If you are a California school administrator with a question about student/teacher safety, special education, accommodations, student rights, free speech or discipline, or school employment law, feel free to call attorney Richard Oppenheim at 818-461-8500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 818-461-8500 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. There is never a charge for an initial consultation and we can help you choose the best direction to resolve any school district issue.