A Gauteng school for children with learning disabilities has been held liable for injuries suffered by a 13-year-old pupil, whose rectum and bladder were torn when he impaled himself on one of five steel droppers placed alongside one of five saplings planted in the playground at Pro Tempo Akademie school.
The boy successfully sued the school in the high court for damages. However, the school appealed the lawsuit, arguing that it should not be held liable for his injuries.
The Supreme Court of Appeals last week dismissed the appeal application, saying the school had created a dangerous situation.
Judge Mahomed Navsa found that reasonable steps to prevent a foreseeable risk of harm through misadventure were not taken.
He said that Section 28(1)(b) of the Constitution dictates that every child has the right to appropriate alternative care when removed from the family environment.
“Having regarded all the circumstances, including the fact that one is dealing with children with learning disabilities and that Jaco’s hyperactivity was known to the school, we must conclude that the school’s submission that public policy demands the liability should not be extended to the school is wholly unfounded,” Navsa said.
The incident occurred in 2009 when the boy and some of his schoolmates were playing cricket on the playground.
The school was ordered to pay 80% of the cost of his medical needs.