This case involves an accident that occurred in a school’s parking lot. The plaintiff, a twelve-year-old male at a rural school, was crossing the faculty parking lot in order to get to school. The faculty’s parking lot was adjacent to the school’s playground, and students who walked to school frequently crossed through the parking lot. On his way across the parking lot, the student was struck by a teacher driving her car through the parking lot. As a result of the incident, the student suffered a fractured hip, leg, and multiple lacerations to his upper and lower body area. It was determined that the school parking lot did not have any designated crossing area for students to walk across the parking lot to the school. Furthermore, there were no posted signs to warn drivers of surrounding students.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. What warning signs or measures should be in place at a parking lot where students may be present?
Expert Witness Response
Schools are responsible for the safety and well-being of their students and faculty members when they are on school property. Often, certain precautionary measures need to be taken. The first measure would be whether students usually used the area when walking to school. If so, this places an even greater burden on the school district to recognize the potentially dangerous area and put in appropriate safeguards. Schools typically have marked crosswalks for their students to safely travel to and from school. Furthermore, there are often crossing guards monitoring and regulating these areas to ensure students’ safety. Additionally, there are frequently warning signs to alert drivers of crossing students in the area. Even if the area was not designated for children to cross, if multiple children did use the area, the school should have taken notice. Overall, it appears that the school did not take sufficient precautionary measures. I have over twenty-nine years of experience in education and school administration, and the school should have had a marked crosswalk for the students to walk across the parking lot and there should also have been signs to warn the drivers that students may be in the area. While a full review of the circumstances around the accident would be necessary to understand the specifics of the incident, it appears that the school was negligent.