Parents of injured child file lawsuit against Oak Harbor schools

The parents of a child injured in a playground accident three years ago filed a lawsuit against the Oak Harbor School District.

James Kytle, a Seattle attorney, filed the lawsuit in Island County Superior Court last month on behalf of Sarah and Michael Reinstra. It demands unspecified damages for alleged negligence.

The lawsuit states that the couple’s son, who was a student at Broad View Elementary School at the time, was seriously injured when he fell from a “stepping pod” on the playground and landed head-first against a “sharp-edged metal balance beam.”

The boy lost consciousness for at least a half hour and was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment, the lawsuit states.

The boy suffered skull fractures, traumatic brain injuries, vision problems and other injuries, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that the school district failed to provide “a reasonable safe zone” near and between playground equipment and that the two pieces of equipment were too close together. It also claims that the paraeducator supervising the playground “failed to exercise ordinary and reasonable care.”

Conor Laffey, district spokesman, provided a statement from the district, but said the officials are limited in what they can say about ongoing litigation.

“When it comes to school playgrounds, student safety is our top priority,” the school district’s statement reads. “Our schools’ playground equipment is designed and installed by certified industry experts and professionals according to state and national safety standards. Our highly-trained and skilled facilities staff members maintain District equipment to keep them at those standards. Our professional playground supervisors coordinate on-site student safety and supervision on a daily basis when students are present.”

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