School safety is an important issue for many parents. In Maryland, schools have a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect students from harm. If a school breaches its duty to a student, the school may be held liable for the resulting injuries. In a May 7, 2021 case, a third-grade student and her mother filed a Maryland personal injury action against the local school board. The plaintiffs alleged negligence for injuries the student received when a classmate threw a chair.
The incident occurred in the plaintiff’s classroom at her elementary school. Two of the students began arguing over a pencil. The teacher separated them by taking one outside of the classroom. When the other student then started throwing desks and chairs, the teacher instructed everyone else to exit the room. The plaintiff was the last to leave, and as she rushed to get to the door, the student threw a chair that struck the plaintiff in the neck. The plaintiff was sent to the school nurse and then an urgent care facility.
The plaintiffs’ lawsuit against the school alleged negligence by the teacher in failing to provide adequate supervision when she removed the student from the classroom. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the school, finding that the plaintiff’s injury resulted from the unforeseen acts of another student and could not have been reasonably anticipated by the teacher. An appeal followed.