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08 June 2017

Newton County Schools Hit with Wrongful Death Lawsuit Following Child's Death on Playground

The parents of a 5-year-old who died, last year, while playing on the monkey bars say Newton County Schools are at fault for the accident.

Attorney Matthew Harman filed a 380-page wrongful death lawsuit against the metro Atlanta school system, claiming that unsafe playground equipment and staff negligence led to Andrea Tyrah DeBruhl's unfortunate demise.

“Nothing can bring Tyrah back," Harman said, "but we’re hopeful that in seeking justice for her family we can make our community safer for all of our children."

WSB-TV reported the Covington kindergartener was playing during recess at Newton County Theme School, when she slipped on the monkey bars and strangled after her head got stuck between the bars. According to the WSB report, "ten teachers and paraprofessionals were on the playground supervising at the time of the incident."

Court documents say the playground monkey bars at the school did not meet equipment safety standards. The legal pleadings also allege numerous violations in internal safety rules that occurred from Newton County Theme School staff on the day of Andrea's death.

Newton County Schools Director of Public Relations Sherri Davis-Viniard says the lawsuit has been referred to school board attorneys, who will be providing a response in Court in a timely manner.

When asked if any actions to improve playground safety at Newton County Schools were taken following the five-year-old's death, David-Viniard replied, "The District is constantly reviewing issues of safety for all students including on the playground."

Lee Andree and Latanya DeBruhl, Andrea's parents, have since founded a non-profit called SafeatPlay.org; an organization dedicated to increasing awareness in the prevention of needless childhood playground injuries.