Messing with Playgrounds

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times brings attention to the toll our sue-happy culture has taken on our communities. The article argues that an over-emphasis on safety has led to regulations requiring the removal of playground equipment, robbing our children of not only fun but also the chance to master progressive physical challenges and develop confidence.

These regulations stripping our playgrounds of equipment are the result of California’s out-of-control legal system, in which every bump, scrape or bruise can become a multimillion dollar lawsuit.

What’s worse, the damage that our legal climate has wrought on our school system is not confined to the playground. While teachers are being pink-slipped, abusive litigation is forcing districts to pay out millions in settlements. According to a recent CALA study, 12 of the state’s 967 school districts spent a total of $98.7 million dollars on verdicts and settlements over a three-year period. These are taxpayer dollars our schools could better spend on rehiring staff, purchasing books and supplies or developing curriculum.

Some lawsuits against school districts are justified. But abusive lawsuits - those filed pursuit of greed, not justice - create problems for our justice system, for our students and for the public. In this case, children across the state have seen their playground equipment lost to lawsuits.

What else have you seen lost to lawsuits?

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