Skateboarding accident leads to lawsuit

By Chris Dickerson | Jan 8, 2008

George Washington Middle School is located in Eleanor in Putnam County.

WINFIELD – A skateboarding accident at a Putnam County middle school has ended up in civil court.

Mikell Null filed the lawsuit Jan. 7 in Putnam Circuit Court against the county Board of Education on behalf of her son Dustin Keith Short.

According to the complaint, Dustin was a student at George Washington Middle School in Eleanor on May 11, 2006, when he was injured on skateboards at the school. The skateboards were in the school gymnasium, which is where Dustin had his homeroom class.

The suit says Dustin was "injured while utilizing skateboards which school personnel had caused to be left in the gymnasium."

"At the time of the incident, there was no school personnel supervising the pupils … and their use of the skateboards," the complaint states. "Skateboarding is not a normal school activity, and the plaintiff, Mikell Null, had not given permission for the plaintiff, Dustin Keith Short, to participate in the activity."

As a result of the accident, Dustin suffered broken bones, bumps, bruises, abrasions and other injuries.

After the accident, Dustin went to Principal Joann Stewart's office to ask to call his parents for medical attention. The complaint says Stewart refused to let him make the call.

Stewart allegedly also failed to get medical attention or assist Dustin. She also allegedly told the boy "to walk down the hallway to obtain ice for his ankle, which had been broken in the fall."

That, the complaint states, caused Dustin to sustain further damage to his foot and ankle.

According to the complaint filed by St. Albans attorney Duane C. Rosenlieb Jr., those actions were -- among other things -- violations of the Putnam County Board of Education's policy and procedures.

Stewart "knew or should have known to obtain proper medical attention" for Dustin, the complaint states. And her refusal to call his parents "constituted negligent and reckless conduct."

The Board's failure to properly hire, train, assign, retain and supervise Stewart was the cause of Dustin's injuries, according to the complaint. The Board also violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights guaranteed in the state Constitution, the suit states.

In addition to his injuries, Dustin sustained aggravation, annoyance, pain and suffering, inconvenience and loss of enjoyment of life. The suit also says his mother sustained aggravation, annoyance, inconvenience, monetary loss and emotional distress.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Ed Eagloski.

Putnam Circuit Court case number: 08-C-3

More News

The Record Network