School District Settles $15K ‘Red Rover’ Lawsuit with Parents

In 2011, a 7th grade student broke his leg while playing a game of 'Red Rover' on the playground of Carlton Oaks Elementary School

By Brandi Powell and Monica Garske
|  Friday, Nov 1, 2013  |  Updated 11:48 AM PDT
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School District Settles Lawsuit over Gym Class

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School District Settles Lawsuit over Gym Class

The Santee School District has settled a lawsuit with parents of a 7th grader, who broke their leg playing the game Red Rover in gym class. NBC 7's Brandi Powell reports.
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The Santee School District in San Diego’s East County has now settled a lawsuit with parents who sued after their child got hurt playing the game “Red Rover” during gym class.

Back in 2011, a 7th grade student at Carlton Oaks Elementary School suffered a broken leg while playing a game of Red Rover during an unsupervised physical education class.

Following the incident, the child’s parents sued the Santee School District. This past summer, the district paid a $15,000 settlement to cover medical and attorney costs in the case.

According to court documents, the student had to have X-rays, casts and physical therapy to recover from the playground injury. Two years later, the student still suffers through some pain, according to documents.

NBC 7 San Diego spoke to the child’s parents Thursday at their Santee home. The couple didn’t want to discuss why they filed the lawsuit or how their child is doing.

NBC 7 also reached out to lawyers representing both the family and school district, but neither side would comment on the lawsuit.

Parents and guardians of young children in the area, however, had a lot to say about the case.

Grandmother Laura Baase said her granddaughter broke her arm on Carlton Oak’s playground earlier this week. Still, she doesn’t blame the school district.

“I never blamed the school. It wasn’t their fault. I mean, it happens; they’re kids” said Baase.

Parent Sheila Tongsot said she remembers playing Red Rover as a kid and thinks the lawsuit went too far.

“I think it’s kind of ridiculous. I mean, kids play. I mean, we played when we were kids and I don’t know, I just don’t think [the school district] should be sued for kids playing and getting hurt,” said Tongsot.

Parent Mark Robbins said he’s not surprised to hear the district settled.

“I think the school would rather not get bad publicity from it. And they probably would want to resolve it,” he added.

Part of the resolution is that games of Red Rover have been banned at the school.

The classic playground game, likely to generate a bruise or two, consists of two lines of players standing on opposing ends of the playground. The players lock hands, as if forming a human chain, and shout for a member of the opposing side to run over and attempt to break their chain.

If a player successfully breaks the chain, he or she may choose one of the players from the opposing team to join their side. If the chain doesn’t break, the player must join the opposing team.

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