Family members of a 7-year-old girl who was stabbed on a Dayton school playground during recess last May plan to sue Dayton Public Schools, alleging negligence because the district failed to ensure the safety of its students.
“There was a fundamental breakdown in the establishment of security protocols and something as basic as erecting a fence around a playground for elementary children in a neighborhood with known high crime rate and sexual offenders,” attorney Michael Wright said.
The second-grader was stabbed by an unknown assailant at World of Wonder PreK-8 on Oakridge Drive just southwest of the intersection of Gettysburg and Hoover.
Police have not arrested anyone and previously said they’ve hit a wall in the case. Dayton police did not return a message Friday asking for a case update.
No security guard was on duty the day of the stabbing. A fence was installed last July at the school, and DPS weighed additional security measures.
“While it’s great that DPS (retroactively) took these measures, the reality is the circumstances and dangers which motivated DPS to enact these safeguards after this stabbing existed before this incident occurred. As such, this was easily preventable,” Wright said. “As you can imagine, subsequent measures are of little consolation to a family who could have been mourning the loss of a child had this perpetrator took other action.”
Wright plans to file the suit in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court next Friday, a day before the one-year anniversary of the incident.
“Fortunately, and unfortunately, this child is with her family, but now has to reconcile what occurred with the fact that police cannot find this man,” Wright said. “She has regular nightmares and as the ‘anniversary’ of the day moves closer, this child is now reliving the trauma of that day.”
The attorney said the girl’s stab wound caused severe bleeding, a right tube thoracotomy, right lung contusion and laceration and right rib fracture.
“She’s on the mend,” Wright said, but is “still dealing with some psychological issues.”
A draft of the lawsuit obtained by this news organization is being brought by the girl and the girl’s mother (both listed as Jane Does) along with the girl’s father, Vernon Nored III. It names as defendants Dayton Public Schools, the Board of Education, individual board members Adil Baguirov, Hazel Roundtree, Joe Lacey, Ronald Lee, John McManus, Sheila Taylor, Robert Walker and various DPS employees.
Wright alleges that random strangers have walked through school premises and that 39 sex offenders live within one mile of the school, a number that triples within a radius of two miles. A Dayton Daily News search of sex offenders conducted Friday found 35 within a mile and 111 within two miles.
Richard Wright II, associate director of DPS’s Office of Safety and Security, did not return a message seeking comment. Neither did attorney Brian Wildermuth, who Michael Wright said was representing the district.
The suit seeks in excess of $25,000 for compensatory damages, attorney fees, court costs and other relief the court deems appropriate. Wright said there has been no settlement offer from DPS and that the district claims it has immunity.
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