Friday, September 3, 2010

Blame the lawyers...

There is a story running around the internet about a school district in West Virginia that has dismantled all playground swing sets. "Swings are being removed from Cabell County schools in southern West Virginia in part because of lawsuits over injuries," says the story. ("In part?" I wonder what the other part is.) Yet, other equipment, such as "monkey bars" will remain. Then there's an editorial in something called "" that says: "Fearing lawsuits over injuries, a West Virginia county is removing swing sets from elementary schools. A minor, local issue? No. America's litigious society has changed the way kids play." So, lawsuits have changed the way kids play. They are no longer exposed to dangerous surfaces or products. Isn't that sad?! Boy do I miss the days when my kids could really hurt themselves!! What the "investors" are not telling you is that, perhaps, just perhaps, changes in playground equipment have been a possitive thing. Maybe, just maybe, our kids are safer now thanks, "in part," to lawsuits.... As Eric Turkewitz eloquently states in his comment about the subject, "In the parks we’ve gone to over the past years, we’ve seen an abundance of swings, slides and things to climb on and scamper over. I see happy faces running up, over and around equipment that was far safer than the public parks I went to as a kid. The only thing I see missing from my youth is the merry-go-round you stood on that others would spin ’round and ’round ’till you puked or were catapulted off onto the concrete. I know, some people liked to see their kids in danger. Perhaps Investors Business Daily would like to return to the days of dangerous products, exploding Pintos, crippled children and Dalkon Shields." Jonathan Turley adds "The position of the district in my view is nonsensical. Monkey bars and other equipment will remain and could also be used as launch pads for Spiderman-wannabes. Moreover, such obvious and patent dangers are generally not the basis for liability so long as the equipment is not defective. One area of liability for playgrounds has been the lack of cushion on the ground such as wood chips or the use of particular rubber mats that heat up to a dangerous level. Just having a swing set is not a particularly strong torts case." His full comment can be found here.

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