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Dessert Storm.

The headline is catchy, but the story is deeper than it appears at first glance. WHO is responsible for an injury sustained while you're at work? Multiple choice:

A. Your employer, the school, because it forced you to work in a dangerous environment with 80-pound speeding objects, occasionally wet floors, germs and bothersome children.

B. Your insurance company, because hey! that's what insurance companies are for. If you paid the premium, you need to try to soak 'em for all they've got. You deserve it. Some restrictions apply as outlined in your policy. Better get a lawyer for maximum gravy effect.

C. You, for being a very old doofus by working in this environment if you have a serious pre-existing condition. You KNEW a little kid could accidentally injure you permanently if he careened into you and guess what? Schools have a lot of 'em. You shoulda been a Wal-Mart greeter because no one stampedes for those smiley face stickers.

D. An eight-year-old kid in a hurry for ice cream. He was bratty, not listening to the "don't run" instruction from teachers. We all know it's common for eight-year-old boys to both listen to and remember all instructions when they're preoccupied. So he needs to payyyyy. Well, and plus his parents have a bit of money. Wait. That has nothing to do with it, because we all know that this woman would sue the kid even if he were homeless, right? It's the principle of the matter, RIGHT??


What do you think? I'd choose A. You work in a school environment. The injury happened while you were on the job. Or perhaps a combination of A and B.

No. I take that back. It has to be C. I know that kids can be a real pain in the back, and I work with them all the time. Sometimes they're even intentionally malicious. Knowing the public school would place you with too many kids to reasonably care for (just being realistic here), it would have to be your own stinkin' fault for trying to be Little Miss Mama to a class of 30-something kids at the old age of 62.

But then there's option D. I'm telling you, I've taught Sunday School. I know that other people's children are even more evil than my own can be sometimes. :] Gotta be D. It's entirely possible that the child wasn't really looking for ice cream at all. It's possible that the old worker lady kept harping on "you rotten little kids, watch out for my back or you'll ruin everything" (say that with old Scooby-Doo episode voice, please) and the kid was just waiting for his chance to tackle.

No. I take that back. It has to be C. If an average eight-year-old can hurt you so bad that you need some spinal fusion surgery, your pre-existing condition was probably pretty bad. You were probably pretty inflexible to begin with that you couldn't fall correctly.


The point being that it sure seems that the schools want to control children's behaviour while the kiddos are in school. Wouldn't that mean that they should be responsible for *whatever happens* while those kids are in the building? I mean, obviously they make some rules that some parents wouldn't AND they enforce them. Therefore, they're reasonably responsible for the children's behaviour. Um, for that matter, the aide HERSELF was probably responsible for the children's behaviour. Was she a special-needs aide, or someone hired to help with a crowded classroom? I guess the school couldn't "discriminate" against her in its hiring practices, though.

But I'm thinking there are common sense limits to that line of thinking. SIXTY two years old, and a pre-existing condition. Ok, I'm going back to the Wal-Mart greeter idea.

Your thoughts?


  1. Hmmm..I'm 56...and teach theatre to bunches of running, wild little kids, times. I do try to enforce the no running rule, It's hard, though. Kids in many groups seem so physical, much more so than when I first taught. Less listening, more wild behavior at times.

    I have arthritis..and so am more teetering with less balance than I used to have. Could a 8 yr. old knock me down, possible..Hurt me...possible.

    Should I quit teaching because of that, when I'm really good at teaching.. No, I think my employer is responsible for on the job injuries..and workman's comp. was designed for just such incidents as these. Unless the woman is trying something else..

    sounds fishy to me.

  2. I am still trying to figure out how the boy's parent's homeowner's insurance is supposed to be responsible. Besides, why would the parent's be responsible for their child's behavior during a time when they aren't present and the public school system has assumed the duty to care?

    At first glance, I might lay the blame on the school districts ~ But, the problem with Worker's Comp is that it only pays about 2/3 of your gross wages. If you are living without margins and without additional disability insurance, that could be a problem. Also, Worker's Comp isn't designed to cover future wages. I suspect that worker's comp doesn't continue to pay after 62 because it was never designed to be a retirement income.

    So, I think that it is the teacher's union's problem because they have not adequately addressed and negotiated their contracts given an aging workforce. Oh, and it is the US Government's problem because they consistently discourage saving for a rainy day and living with debt. Or, perhaps it is the victims responsibility to take care of her own life. There are risks to working with children who are NOT developmentally little adults. Her story is unfortunate, but her current situation is a direct result of her not having any savings and not having any personal disability insurance.

  3. The confusion comes from our limited language. "Responsible" can be multiple things, such as

    1. At fault/the cause
    2. Accountable/in charge

    A and D correspond to 1, and B and C relate to 2.

    Thus, while the kid caused the accident by behaving badly and the school allowed for the environment, the insurance company should pay because they cover us when we do dumb stuff or have dumb stuff happen to us.

    Fifty years ago this won't be an issue because people tended to take responsibility for themselves.

    "The system"/human nature/The Fall is at fault because it's easy to blame [smile].


  4. Betty, it sounds odd to me, too. Not being able to see her med. records, I wonder how bad her pre-existing condition was and whether working with large numbers of children was PRUDENT on her part. (In other words, was this a dumb job to take given the circumstances?)

    But then, Julie, you rang in with an important point that this woman might just be grasping at straws so that she can have enough money to pay expenses. Still seems kind of evil to me.

    THOUGH that being said, I have seen some pretty malicious kids.

    Luke, your comment was so deep I had to think on it for a moment. And I hate to admit that you're absolutely right... I guess that's what we buy insurance for. Then we go wonder why it's so expensive... Sigh.

    BUT I'd also have to say that I'm at least glad this isn't the Industrial Revolution where if you lose a hand on your jobsite, it's just tough noogie for you.

  5. Choice A. One time, the city tore out the sidewalk along my parents property. Someone tripped on it and sued my parents even though they had nothing to do with the work. We didn't think it was our fault, but our insurance company said we had to pay (actually the insurance paid because our policy covered it).


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