Here is what happened. A teacher and the students from a high school science class gathered in the gym to conduct a demonstration of centripetal force. Using a wheeled cart attached to a 20-foot-rope a student would get inside the cart, while the teacher held the end of the rope and another student pushed the cart. At some point the teacher could no longer hold onto the rope and the cart kept going crashing into a doorframe.
The impact was hard enough that this student suffered a dislocated hip and a fractured femur. Schools have a duty to provide a safe place for these student children - which are yours and my own. The student sued the school district and the teacher. The school district claimed successfully that the student’s injury did not fall within the exceptions to governmental immunity for negligence in the “operation and maintenance’ of any building or in the “operation and maintenance” of any recreational area.
Governmental immunity is a legal doctrine that's been around since the King of England announced the King can do no wrong. Even though America broke free of the King of England, politicians who liked big government, but not big responsibility kept this legal doctrine to save money at the expense of the People.
One should be very careful about drawing too much from this opinion because this case is specific to Wyoming and that state’s Tort Claims Act.
Case description by Justia:
Fugle v. Sublette County Sch. Dist. #9 Court: Wyoming Supreme Court
Opinion Date: July 31, 2015WY 98
Areas of Law: Education Law, Injury Law
Plaintiff, a high school student, filed suit against his school district and his teacher for injuries he received during a science demonstration conducted in the school gymnasium. Defendants moved for summary judgment under the Wyoming Governmental Claims Act. The district court granted the motion, concluding that Plaintiff’s injury did not fall within any exceptions to governmental immunity. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in concluding that Defendants’ alleged negligence did not fall within the exceptions to governmental immunity for negligent operation or maintenance of a building or for negligent operation or maintenance of any recreation area.
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