The Palo Alto school district has agreed to pay $200,000 to an Ohlone Elementary School student who was injured while playing on the campus' playground in 2018.
The school board unanimously approved the settlement agreement with the boy's family during a closed session on Tuesday, President Todd Collins announced when the open session began. The settlement, which is not an admission of liability, will be paid in full by the district's Joint Powers Authority (JPA).
The family's lawyer declined to comment on the settlement.
The boy's family filed a lawsuit in April 2019, alleging the district was negligent and failed to properly maintain safe conditions on school property.
During a class exercise in April 2018, the boy was playing ball with a "funnel catching device" in a sandbox surrounded by a concrete curb. He slipped on excess sand and fell face first into the curb, causing "serious trauma" to his head, face and teeth, according to the lawsuit.
"The close proximity" of the sandbox and concrete curb, "combined with the foreseeability that children are likely to slip and fall during the vigorous play that the funnel catcher encourages and the foreseeability that sand could spill over from the sandbox and make the surface even more slippery made this area of the public property dangerous," the complaint reads.
The lawsuit alleges the district "made the condition more dangerous and likely to cause harm" by not cleaning up excess sand. It also alleges that other children had previously been injured under similar circumstances.
The lawsuit includes 100 unnamed defendants who "breached their duty of care to (the student) by negligently, carelessly, recklessly and otherwise unlawfully creating a dangerous condition on the school playground."
Under the settlement agreement, the district's Joint Powers Authority will immediately pay a lump sum of $89,406 and then $5,000 payments quarterly starting in the year 2032 until the entire amount is paid. The periodic payments begin when the student turns 20 years old, said Komey Vishakan, the district's general counsel.