Hutchinson Schools Settle Playground Injury Claims

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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Monday, January 7, 2013

The Hutchinson School District has settled with three families after their children were injured on the same piece of playground equipment on the same day. The district has now taken care of the unsafe monkey bars after the children were injured back in August.

Despite papers filed in district court, the parents did not file lawsuits against the district.

The playground at Faris Elementary School in Hutchinson looks pretty nice. There are modern day swings, monkey bars, and all kinds of slides. But upon closer inspection, the monkey bars turned out to be not very safe.

"There was new monkey bars just hanging in between and there was no steps for them to get on and off of," explained Julie Young as she described how her young daughter fell off and broke her wrist.

It was the very same day that two other children also broke their wrists. The new playground equipment had just been installed.

"They were clear up to where that top part is up here," Young pointed. "I couldn't even reach them just from standing here, either."

The Hutchinson School District was surprised to find an article in the local newspaper claiming the three families sued the school district -- and won. Superintendent Shelly Kiblinger says that's not the case.

"Apparently, there are certain kinds of payments that parents can't accept on behalf of their children," Kiblinger said, "and this was a very small amount of money that we're talking about. Nontheless, the legal steps had to be followed."

The district makes no admission of responsibility, but paid out $3,000 to each of the families to cover the children's medical expenses. Now, the unsafe monkey bars have been removed.

"They took them out within, I would say, after the third child fell, that afternoon," Young said.

"The parents say it was never their intention to "go after" the school district. They say, though, they just wanted their medical expenses paid for.

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