How much is a child’s life worth?

We may soon find out. Losing a high school kid to open enrollment costs the Distruct, oops, that was a typo, costs the District about $6,000 state bucks a year. Lose ten high school kids and it costs a teacher. (I’m still waiting for the Trib to write a story about this and the dysfunction at Piedmont might be a good place to start that story.)

But how about an actual life? If a child dies at Ordean because the School Board successfully pushes through its plans and the City grants variances to expedite it we might find out.

Finding the right lawyer to fight the Red Plan has been tricky because there’s not much money in it. But the law favors lawyers who bring damage suits and who can share big awards for negligence. When I was on the Board we used to budget for potential legal claims each year. If we were lucky in a given year we might only have a half dozen lawsuits. Win or lose they cost money. When we lost a suit, as happened occasioinally during my tenure, like the time a child suffered brain injury because he wasn’t noticed lying at the bottom of a swimming pool, it cost a pretty penny.

These suits are typically jury trials. Imagine a jury in Duluth where most of the jury pool would be predisposed to think of the Red Plan as a scam. If a child dies because of well known but ignored safety defects how much sympathy would be accorded the School District? Not much. The District will not be able to plead ignorance about safety issues because two years prior to the planned gutting of Ordean they were laid out and presented to the School Board. When the Board refused for political reasons to acquire more land through eminent domain they guaranteed that Ordean would remain an unsafe place.

Even at Denfeld the Board acquired and tore down all the houses across from the front of the school cutting off the street. But not at Ordean. That will be left to a new school board. Maybe it will happen after a million dollar lawsuit. If we taxpayers are lucky! The City could be on the hook for such as settlement too if it gives the District a pass on safety.

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