Mum sues Victorian government for negligence after her seven-year-old son died on a school excursion.

Xiaoying Tan says the state-run school and the operators of the camp failed in their duty of care to her only child, Junpeng Tan, who died from a cardiac arrest in October 2013, after allegedly being bitten by a brown snake, according to a writ lodged with the Victorian County Court.

The pathologist who examined Tan said it was reasonable to determine the unfortunate young fellow had succumbed to a snake bite, Ms Tan’s lawyers say, reports 9 news.

ABC news reports, Ms Tan has suffered from a major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, shock and anxiety since her son’s death, the court documents said.

She is suing for injuries, loss of earnings and loss of earnings capacity.

Maurice Blackburn public safety lawyer Dimi Ioannou, who is representing Ms Tan, said her client was devastated.

“We allege that the school failed to adequately supervise, protect and take proper care of Junpeng,” Ms Ioannou said.

“We also allege that the operators of the camp failed to ensure as far as was reasonably practicable that the premises was safe and without risks or hazards that were likely to cause unnecessary injury or death.”

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  • I wonder what the outcome of her lawsuit was? Did the camp have a snake kit? Rest in peace young man, I hope his mother has found some peace.


  • This poor little boy & his family.


  • This is just so tragic.


  • What a tragedy. Poor little guy and mum would be heartbroken. An accident that might not have been able to be prevented. I can understand why she feels the need to do something.


  • Oh how heartbreaking. We always expect that our children will be well cared for while in the care of teachers, etc.


  • What a terrible situation, that poor mum


  • What a tragic loss :'( My heart breaks for his mother but we live in a country that has an abundance of some of the deadliest snakes in the world. You can’t walk in your own backyard without the risk of a snake in the summer time. In some of our local preschools we actually have to conduct a snake check before every season because snakes have been found hiding in tire swings, sandpit toy boxes and even just curled up at the back door. The best you can do in a bush setting is educate children on the dangers of snakes and what to do if they see one, have a snake kit on hand, adequate first aid training and seek medical help immediately if bitten but sadly this is not always enough to save a life.


  • That’s so sad.
    Maybe the school can learn from this experience and choose different sort of activity for the kids to engage in next time or maybe find a different location once they’ve done a bit of research on what is around.


  • What a tragedy- I can’t begin to think of what this poor mother is going through. This is the last thing you expect on a school camp. ????


  • Very sad but it’s a snake something that’s found in many places unforeseen an accident no faults you can’t snake proof anything! I hope the did seek immediate care not that it would of done much do depending on location


  • What a truly heartbreaking situation to be in.


  • It’s heartbreaking and very sad Where was the supervision.


  • I am so sad for her, this is horrible. No family should have to go through that when they send their child to camp.


  • You always think that when your children go on a school excursion they will be safe. So sorry for her loss.


  • Although this is a terrible that has happened to their son, I am willing to bet that they would have had to sign a waiver against possible things happening while their child was on camp. I always had to do this as no school/teacher/attendant can fully guarantee that no harm will come to the pupils under their care at a school camp. It is not right that they are suing the school – it will end up that children will miss out yet again on a fun thing to do because of this one incident.


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