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BROWARD COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, PARENTS SETTLE CASE REGARDING WESTON STUDENT JUMPED IN CLASS

Mon Nov 15, 1999 by on Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/REVISED VERSION

BROWARD COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, PARENTS
SETTLE CASE REGARDING WESTON STUDENT JUMPED IN CLASS

Former Tequesta Middle Student says “Dog Piling” was Commonplace

Weston, FL – When you send your kids to school everyday, you expect them to return home safely and in one piece. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for a Tequesta Trace Middle school student and now the Broward School Board and the parents of other students involved are being held liable for his serious injuries.

Back in early December 1994 a 7th grader at Tequesta Trace Middle School was “dogpiled” by fellow band members while a substitute teacher looked on. Jimmy Prilides said he was minding his own business when someone yelled, “Let’s get Jimmy.” Then, five boys jumped on top of him, resulting in a crushed knee. The damage was so severe, Jimmy was left immobile and was home schooled for four and a half months.

“This incident simply didn’t have to happen,” said Prilides lawyer, “Roy Oppenheim. He says the school was aware of this type of harmful horseplay prior to Jimmy’s incident, but did nothing to stop it.

A Tequesta Trace Middle School assistant principal testified in a deposition that “dogpiling” was a common occurrence at the school, but officials didn’t do much about it, fearing they wouldn’t qualify for the U.S. Blue Ribbon Award, an honor given to exceptional schools. “They didn’t want disciplinary proceedings on the book. They made a habit of sweeping them under the rug,” said Oppenheim.

The other problem Oppenheim argued was that parent volunteers acted as nurses at the school. “When Jimmy was brought to the school nurse, who wasn’t licensed or accredited, she had him sitting in a wheel chair with a bag of ice. According to a doctor’s testimony, he should have had his knee completely immobilized.”

Twenty percent of the six-figure settlement was paid by the school board, and the rest was paid by the responsible students’ parents’ homeowners insurance policies. “Parents have to realize if their children commit negligent and harmful acts, by acting irresponsibly and causing harm to others, their parents will be held accountable,” concluded Oppenheim.

“We probably never would have filed the lawsuit had the school officials just said we are sorry for what happened to your son,” said, Jim Prilides, the boy’s father.

Oppenheim says the school board was responsible because officials were absolutely negligent in supervising the class, and in having parents fulfill the role of a nurse, who was clearly untrained.

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Oppenheim is a partner in the firm, along with his wife Ellen Pilelsky. Oppenheim Pilelsky, the oldest law firm in Weston, is a general practice concentrating in real estate, litigation and business related matters. The law firm of Oppenheim Pilelsky is located at: 1290 Weston Road, Suite 300, Weston, FL 33326 (954) 384-6114.

/Contact: Julie Silver or Christine Manna at Boardroom Communications, 954-321-6334, for Oppenheim Pilelsky.