The parents of a teenager whose eyes were damaged when a lime chemical mixture used to mark sports field lines was allegedly thrown into his face is claiming more than R4 million from the Mpumalanga Education authorities and from the school.
The parents, who may not be identified to protect their son, said in papers before the Pretoria High Court that their son is battling at school since the incident as the other children mock and tease him. Because he cannot see properly, they, among other things, pretend to tap a cane on the ground to imitate a blind person when they come across him.
The child was a 15-year-old pupil at a school in eMalahleni when the incident occurred in February 2011.
He was attending a watermelon festival at a sports field. Some children allegedly threw the chemically treated lime into his face. The chalk-like substance was in containers on the grass. The lime landed in his eyes and he had to be taken to hospital. Medical reports submitted to court say he now battles with his eyesight. The parents blame the school, saying it was negligent by not taking precautions against the pupils getting their hands on the lime. The containers were not kept in a risk-free environment away from the pupils, nor was it clearly marked as hazardous, they said.
The school should have known the children could play with the substance and that it could pose a potential danger. The parents also felt there was no proper supervision by teachers during this school activity.
The mother said they have spent more than R34 000 on her son’s medical bills and his future medical bills are estimated at R295 000.
She also claimed R3.1m for future loss of income for her son and R600 000 for his pain and suffering.
The school and the Mpumalanga education MEC denied wrongdoing. They said the pupils were not busy with school activities at the time, and denied the boy was injured by the lime.
The matter was postponed indefinitely by agreement between the parties.