Posted on Jun 26, 2013

Parents and guardians send their children on class trips expecting their child to receive proper care and supervision; but that expectation is not always met. One Brooklyn school is defending its chaperone to student ratio despite a major tragedy that occurred on Monday afternoon.

A Brooklyn class from International High School went on a field trip to Bear Mountain State Park on Monday morning. The school assigned five chaperones with forty-eight students. The students hiked all day during a heat wave. Two of the students broke away to go for a swim as they were tired and perspiring profusely from the hike and the sun.

One of the students never returned. He perished in Hessian Lake; his body was found around four o’ clock in the afternoon. The boy was sixteen years old. The parks department stated that there are no lifeguards at the lake and swimming is not permitted there. The drowning is under investigation at this time.

The New York Post reports that many classmates took to Facebook to mourn the teen’s death. One friend of the teen told the Post, “I can’t believe it… I saw him a lot around school. He never got into any trouble or fights. I’m very sad.” Another person wrote on Facebook according to the Post, “I cried all night wishing it didn’t happen I couldn’t sleep, all prayers also goes to your family and what they have to go through.”

The Department of Education issued a statement saying, “Our thoughts are with the family and school community during this difficult time.” The school tried to defend its actions by stating that it was a hiking trip not a swimming trip. School officials also stated that they felt like the chaperone to student ratio was appropriate.


It is unclear at this time according to the article whether the family is going to bring a claim against the school for negligent supervision. Importantly, the time limit to file a claim against the board of education or a municipal entity is very short. A Notice of Claim must be filed quickly and then there is a shortened time period in which to file a lawsuit. To learn more about the time to file a claim and a lawsuit against the NYC Board of Education or a municipal entitity, you are encouraged to call our office at 516-487-8207 or send an email to [email protected]. We welcome your call.


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Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer