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Parent questions CPSB’s commitment to safety after teen left at store during trip

Last Modified: Friday, October 05, 2012 6:01 PM

By Ashley Withers / American Press

One parent is questioning the Calcasieu Parish School Board’s commitment to student safety after a recent school-sponsored trip left her child stranded at an area Walmart.

“My daughter called me and said, ‘Can you please come to Walmart and pick me up?’ And I was so confused because she was supposed to be on her way to the football game,” said Phillis Kinchen.

Last Friday afternoon, Kinchen’s daughter, Myiah Myles, and the rest of the Washington-Marion dance team were headed to Leesville to perform during the school’s football game. The bus stopped off at the Walmart on U.S. 171 for the dance team sponsor to pick up supplies. Myles left the bus at this time.

“I have been told by several of the other students that this lady (the dance sponsor) was all in Myiah’s face on the bus,” Kinchen said. “She was saying mean things and embarrassing her in front of the whole bus.”

“I got off the bus and she (the sponsor) was just coming back on the bus, and she asked me where I was going and I said I was going in Walmart and she said, ‘Fine with me,’ and she got back on the bus,” Myles said.

Myles said the sponsor came up to her 10 minutes later while talking on the phone with Washington-Marion principal Robert Pete.

“She hung up with Mr. Pete and said, ‘Well I’m going to call your mother.’ So she walks out of Walmart while saying I need to get myself together and that I shouldn’t be so selfish and should stop thinking about myself sometimes. That was the last thing she told me, and then she walked out.”

Myles said she stood at the front of the Walmart while the bus pulled away.

Kinchen arrived at the store eight minutes after her daughter’s call.

She said she never received a phone call from the dance sponsor or the school’s principal.

“I know my daughter is OK and that is all that matters, but (the sponsor) never called to see if she was OK. The principal tells me he drove to Walmart, but didn’t see her so he assumed I picked her up, but he never called to check.”

Pete declined comment.

“The situation was handled,” said David Buller, the head of the school system’s High School Department. “At the present we have no further comment.”

Kinchen said she was told that Pete was reprimanded, but that there were no consequences for the sponsor because “she was not an official CPSB employee.”

Superintendent Wayne Savoy told the American Press there is no official districtwide policy for extracurricular sponsors and coaches. He said these appointments are left entirely up to each principal.

“At the end of the day, my 14-year-old daughter was left alone at a Walmart while she was under the care of Calcasieu Parish schools,” Kinchen said.

“She and her safety were not a priority. It was my daughter today, but whose child will it be next time?”

Posted By: Tavita Carrier On: 10/7/2012

Title: Dropped the ball

As a parent and smeone who knows this child personally I can say without a shadow of a doubt that someone dropped the ball. I left Lake Charles with my children 5 years ago. I never understood school board commitment and dedication to our children until that time.I have left the state and live in CT now and here is where i found that committment and safety is a PRIORITY. Even if people feel that parts are missing bottom line is a child who was in the care of the CPSB was left behind on a trip. What if it wasnt within minutes of her mother's care? Would they have left her even if she wasn't still in town? Why is there not a head count done? You take children into a department store and not make sure everyone made it back to the bus before you leave? Why was there not a followup call made to Mom to make sure the child was OK? My children are involved in activities in our town and at school . Even after competitions and games our kids are highly regarded and volunteers and staff will not let them out of their sight. They go in groups and thats how they stay unless they are personally handed off to a parent. I absolutely agree"who's child will it be next?" Put yourself in this Mother's place. Would it matter if the story was in complete detail or would it just matter because your child was left? Someone needs to be accountable..And so far noone seems to be taking responsiblity!!! Who dropped the ball and why was any child on a school trip left alone? And personally i plan to make sure everyone I know In Louisiana and Connecticut read this article. This is without a doubt a crying shame and should be a lesson to every parent and school board staff across the nation to make sure this doesnt happen to another child regardless of where they live. And we made anti- bullying a nation wide effort. But what about what adults we leave in charge of our childrfen and when are they held accountable for our children's safety?

Posted By: Mary Kate On: 10/6/2012

Title: Sad

The story obviously has missing pieces in it. Stop jumping down people's throats before you know the whole situation. Yes it was irresponsible for this to happen but give us the entire story before you post it next time please.

Posted By: Patrick Bass On: 10/5/2012

Title: John Doe

Why was the "sponsor" not named in this article? Why was she "in the child's face"? The article suggests that the child saw the bus (driven by a school board employee) drive away: how close was she to the bus? Did the bus driver see her? Did the sponsor see her? Did other students see her at the curb? Did other students notify the sponsors and the driver that the child was missing? Ashley, these are bits of information needed to finsih the article prior to publishing.

Posted By: just amazed On: 10/5/2012

Title: no policy?

really? they have a "policy" on EVERYTHING in the school board. NO POLICY CONCERNING WHO, WHAT, WHERE AND WHEN OUR KIDS ARE TAKEN OUT OF SCHOOL, OUT OF TOWN, OUT OF THE PARISH??!!!! WHO IS RUNNING THIS SCHOOL SYSTEM, MR SAVOY??!! SPONSORS??

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