Parents place their trust in many people as their children grow. The groups of people parents trust most are probably teachers and school officials. This may be especially true as children get older and participate in events away from home. When New York schools sponsor trips and provide chaperones, parents often feel nervous about letting their children go, but they realize it is part of growing up and rely on chaperones to keep their children safe. They may never expect it to lead to a wrongful death claim.
One mother in another state is likely regretting her decision to trust the chaperones assigned to accompany her son and 31 other students on a school sponsored trip to Belize. The students were visiting Belize for their international studies class, and part of the trip included a visit to the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. The 14-year-old’s mother had gotten him a head-mounted camera to record his experiences, never imagining the camera would capture the last moments of his life.
At the sanctuary, the video shows the students swimming in a river. Within the reach of his classmates and while nine chaperones stood nearby, the student became fatigued in water that was 25 feet deep. The video contains the signs of his struggle, his efforts to get the attention of those around him and his cries for help. No one recognized his peril, and as the chaperones gathered the students to leave, apparently, no one noticed the boy was missing, even though his shoes were left on the riverbank.
The boy’s body was located the next day. His mother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school, the chaperones and the owner of the sanctuary who apparently provided no life vests for the students. New York parents also have the right to seek compensation when the negligent actions of others take the lives of their loved ones. By consulting with an attorney, they can decide on the best course of action.
Source: ajc.com, “Video shows Cobb student’s drowning death through his eyes; mom sues“, Ben Brasch, April 14, 2017