Family awaits claims bill after child's catastrophic injury in classroom

Family awaits claims bill after child's catastrophic injury in classroom

A family’s financial future to care for their son is in the hands of state lawmakers. A catastrophic incident inside of a school changed their son’s life forever.

Inflating a tire in his auto shop class at Seminole Ridge Community High School changed Dustin Reinhardt’s life forever. It exploded striking him in his face. “It peeled the skin-off of his skull just below the nose-up over the top of his head,” his father Scott said.

Nine surgeries and three years later, he lives the new norm with a traumatic brain injury. Not able to care for himself, Dustin is forced to live in a Sarasota group home with constant care. “He’s got the developmental capacity of maybe a 10 or 12 year-old. From what they tell us, that’s pretty much his new normal,” Scott said.

The September 2013 incident is now about to cost the school district and possibly the state $5-million.

The Palm Beach County School District will vote next week on paying the former student $300,000, the max allowed under state law.

A claims bill recently filed by a Broward County state senator seeks to collect another $4.7-million from the state to secure the young man’s future. “It has to get through both houses and it has to be signed by the governor. Any place along the way it could be stopped,” Reinhardt said.

The PBC School Board supplied CBS12 with this statement and a list of changes made to the Automotive school program at Seminole Ridge:

After this accident more than three years ago, the School District, Choice and Technical Education department and schools quickly began to work closely to review and improve this program and other Choice programs in our schools.
Measures to improve this program were created with the assistance of an Automotive Advisory Committee of Community and Industry leaders, and include extensive safety training for students and staff, additional instructors, more stringent operating procedures and the implementation of the NATEF (National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation) curriculum. In fact, the program just recently received NATEF accreditation which certifies that the program provides the highest standards for its students and instructors.

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