Student who sued school after fracturing knee during high jump loses case

Judge said he did not think the PE teacher could have done any more to properly instruct the students

The high court was satisfied the injury was not caused by any negligence or want of care on the part of the PE teacher or the school authorities.

The high court was satisfied the injury was not caused by any negligence or want of care on the part of the PE teacher or the school authorities.

 

A student who sued his school claiming he suffered a knee fracture when he took a high jump during PE class has lost his High Court action for damages. Liability for costs of the case will be decided next week.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr said Mitchell Dunne, who was a 16-year-old transition year student at the time of the accident in 2014, undoubtedly suffered a nasty injury but such injuries occur when one is participating in a sporting activity.

He was satisfied there was no negligence by the PE teacher and that she could not have done any more to properly instruct the students.

Dismissing the action, the judge was satisfied the injury was not caused by any negligence or want of care on the part of the PE teacher or the school authorities.

Mr Dunne, now aged 20, of Abbey View, Monasterevin, Co Kildare had, through his mother Regina Dunne, sued the Trustees and Board of Management of St Paul’s Secondary School, Monasterevin, as a result of the accident on May 2nd 2014.

He alleged failure to adequately train or supervise him as concerning the manner and methods by which he could safely perform a high jump.

It was further claimed he was exposed to a risk of injury of which the school knew or ought to have known.

The claims were denied and the school pleaded the PE teacher had demonstrated how to do the jump before students took part.

In his judgment on Thursday, Mr Justice Barr said there was a direct conflict of evidence between the account given by Mr Dunne as to what happened in the PE class and the account by the teacher, Elaine Mahoney.

He was satisfied the teacher’s account was the correct version of what occurred that morning.

“I do not think Ms Mahoney could have done any more to properly instruct the students,” he said.

The fact Mr Dunne had done three successful jumps prior to the jump on which he injured himself showed he was more than able for the task at hand, the judge said.

“Accordingly I find there was no negligence on the part of Ms Mahoney the way she carried out the PE class.”

The judge did not accept Mr Dunne’s evidence that he weighed seventeen stone at the time of the accident.

He also accepted the teacher’s evidence that she operated the principle of ‘challenge by choice’ and it was not compulsory for students to participate in each and every activity.

He further found there was a warm up of the type described by the PE teacher on the morning of the incident.