Student sues school for head injury

A former Whitehorse student filed a lawsuit against Yukon's Department of Education last week for failing to provide a safe environment for children.

A former Whitehorse student filed a lawsuit against Yukon’s Department of Education last week for failing to provide a safe environment for children.

Kaitlin Furlong, then 15, slipped and fell during a classroom activity while attending Grade 8 at the Wood Street Centre and suffered trauma to the head, according to court documents.

Furlong was playing a game called “word of the day,” which asked students to guess a word based on clues offered by staff.

To win, a student had to write down the word in the school’s office.

On November 24, 2010, Furlong believed she knew the word of the day and ran towards the office, which is located near the entrance of the building.

Snow had been tracked onto the floor outside the office and had melted, and Furlong slipped and fell.

The court documents allege that Furlong suffered, and continues to suffer, a long list of injuries as a result of her fall.

These include traumatic brain injury, jaw and neck pain, headaches, dizziness, nausea, depression and post-traumatic stress.

The Yukon government “was aware, or ought to have been aware, of the likelihood of the floor being slippery in the place where Kaitlin slipped and fell,” according to the statement of claim.

The lawsuit states that the school was negligent because they failed to inspect the floor adequately, remove the water, take action to reduce the danger or warn students.

The documents do not specify if running to the office was permitted in the “word of the day” game, or by the rules of the school in general.

The lawsuit was filed on Furlong’s behalf by her father, Alex Furlong, well-known in the territory for his former role as the president of Yukon Federation of Labour.

The family has since relocated to Regina, Saskatchewan.

The parties will meet before a judge in August to discuss a possible settlement.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com