Parents, you know the one that I’m talking about. It’s the school calling you, and they’re calling to tell you that your precious child got hurt at school. Who cares that the “precious child” is 13 years old? To a mother/father, it doesn’t matter I tell you. Whether it’s the day care calling to tell me that Jax is running a fever during the middle of my work day, or a call about one of our older children, it’s alarming all the same.
Today the call was about Tanner. And we’re furious about what happened. I’ll fill you in on the deets and then you can be all furious with us, and you’ll need to comment below and tell me that you’re also furious so that I don’t lose my own steam…ok?
Yesterday another cold front hit our area…temperatures dropped out of the 60’s (don’t hate us) and the winter coats went back on when the sleet started falling from the sky during the early morning hours. Life went on, nothing came to a screeching halt (except the blasted Austin traffic!) and everyone went on their merry way. Staying in the 20’s all day though, leads one to believe that it’s also going to remain cold all night. Let me be the first one to clue you in: freezing temperatures and automatic sprinkler systems do NOT mix well together. Think oil and water and you’ve got the right idea.
So Tanner goes to school this morning, and being in Athletics, shows up at the gym first thing in the morning. His basketball coach, in all of his infinite wisdom, decides that for practice today the boys should go outside and run some laps around the track. Right now you should already be scratching your head a little bit…I’m just letting you know.
Before going outside, several of the 12 and 13 year-old boys who have more common sense than the Coach apparently has question the Coach about whether it’s too cold to be running outside, but he tells them to do the laps like he said and to stop questioning him. (Bright idea…real bright idea, she says in a voice that literally drips sarcasm like a leaky sieve.)
And the idea is made even brighter by the discovery that the maintenance man/men did not turn off the automatic sprinklers that water the inside or middle of the track last night…the water came on and doused the entire track area…and then froze. At this point, I don’t know if the boys tried to talk to the Coach again or not. If it were me and I’d already been told once not to question him, I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it, but that’s just me.
I’ll go ahead and jump to the middle of the story for you since no, this story does NOT end when three boys fell and got hurt. Yep, you read that right. Three kids fell down on the icy track that they were forced to run on outside in the 20 degree weather…thanks, Coach! And obviously I wouldn’t be telling this story if one of the boys wasn’t ours. Tanner fell down on the icy track, landed on his face and got not only a mild concussion, but a split eyelid. And let me give you enough further gory details to say that his eyelid split in a spot where they can’t stitch it back up because of the proximity to his eye.
So the immediate effect/consequence in Tanner’s world is that #1 he is rushed to the hospital and #2 gets to go home for the day with some good drugs and a cool eye patch. The lingering effects? He’s out of the rest of basketball season…and potentially might not be healed enough to play baseball this summer. Which he has played every.single.year since T-ball. Bummer.
And another lasting repercussion? Hospital/Doctor bills. Yes, we have insurance on Tanner, and hopefully most of this will all be covered under it (once the deductible has been met)…but is it our responsibility to pay for this? I think not. Now, before I go any further, let me say with all clarity that I am not one of those people who thinks that everyone needs to sue everyone else for the wrong that was done to them. I also don’t believe that you should get rich off of a big corporation or company when something happens to you. I don’t believe that at all.
But I do believe in doing the right thing. And in this case, the school is clearly responsible/liable for their Coach’s actions. He sent the kids out in bad weather. He didn’t check the area he sent them to – making sure that it was a safe place for them to be going. His decision. This wasn’t Tanner goofing off, slipping and falling on his own whim. He was following the orders that a teacher gave him when he got hurt. In my opinion, the school is clearly in the wrong here.
Yet, despite all evidence to the contrary, when Tanner’s mom called the school to ask if they were footing the hospital bill she was told that “they don’t do that.” We told her to call a lawyer. We also advised her that although she doesn’t need to seek/expect a financial windfall for what’s happened to her son, she should at least be compensated for the medical bills. What if he has damage to his eye? A good check-up wasn’t really possible with the lid being so damaged right now, but what if? Then he might be out of sports period, not just sitting out for a month or two. To a 13 year-old boy, being told that you can’t play sports might as well be a death sentence…that’s all that they care about! Or maybe I should say that all that this boy cares about.
Either way, we’re really upset by the school’s response of this not being “their fault.” If not the school, then who’s fault is it? Clearly 30 boys didn’t decide on their own to put on their gym shorts and go run a mile outside when it was sleeting the day before…if it had been snowing, then maybe I could see the interest of a snow ball fight or something. That’s not the case here. The Coach gave a bad order, the kids followed it, and several kids were hurt. And now the school wants to take the stance that they’re not responsible? I don’t think so!
Now it’s your turn to chime in…what do you think about this? Are we over-reacting? Do you think the school should cover these three boys’ medical bills? Or are we just becoming part of an insane growth in society (that we personally loathe) where everyone sues everyone else for the smallest thing?