Earlier this month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a wrongful death case brought by the parents of a young boy who died after he fell while the teacher was out of the classroom. In the case, Barnett v. Atlanta Independent School System, the court determined that a teacher’s decision related to the control and supervision of students is a discretionary one that is entitled to immunity.
In October 2008, Antoine Williams, a seventh-grade student, fell on the floor while horse-playing with another student. Williams’ teacher was not in the classroom at the time and did not return until approximately 30 minutes after Williams’ fall. Upon her return, the teacher called 911, and Williams was taken to the hospital, but sadly Williams died due to a loss of blood.
After the accident, the school’s principal conducted an investigation into the accident. When asked, the teacher initially told the principal she was in the room when Williams fell after complaining of a bloody nose. However, that was later shown to be a false statement, and the teacher admitted to not being in the room.