On April 16, 2007 a flagpole falls in the courtyard of Roosevelt Primary School in Ferndale, Michigan and kills a 5 year old little girl.
The school district of Ferndale’s response to this tragic accident; it’s not a public building; the district does not believe it is liable and they are appealing the ruling made by the state Court of Appeals which denied the districts claims as reported by the Detroit News. Apparently the courtyard is only accessible through the school and that is why the justices believe that it is part of the school.
The mother of the girl, Angela Smith-Johnson, is suing the Ferndale school district for not less than $25,000 as reported by the Daily Tribune.
The flagpole was very old; it could have been in the Roosevelt Primary School courtyard for as long as 80 years and it is believed that rust, weather, deterioration and a windy day are the cause of the flagpole falling. According to the Detroit News article the school just kept painting over the rust instead of correcting the problem.
When parents send their kids to school they expect them to be safe from harm and it should not matter if it was inside the school or in a courtyard just outside of the school. If the Roosevelt Primary school painted over the rust then they knew it was a problem and they should have removed or replaced the flagpole as part of their outdoor maintenance responsibilities. It was a freak accident, a terrible tragedy but if the Ferndale school had done more than just cover up the unsightly rust with a coat of paint a mother would have never have had to face the most horrific day of her life and an adorable little girl would be still with us today.