Archive for Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Kindergartner gets left in pumpkin patch

Principal picks up child, who was forgotten during field trip

October 25, 2005


Getting left behind at a pumpkin patch sounds like a plot line from a Charlie Brown cartoon.

But that's what happened to a Langston Hughes kindergartner during a school field trip last Friday.

"It was an unfortunate situation and we're hoping something like this never happens (again)," said Langston Hughes School Principal Lisa Williams-Thompson.

First-graders and kindergartners went to the Schaake's Pumpkin Patch on Friday for a school field trip. Shortly after the bus left, pumpkin patch employees realized that one child had been left behind and called the school.

Unable to reach teachers by phone, Williams-Thompson picked up the child. She said the child was waiting patiently and was grateful to the folks at Schaake's. The child's family was understanding of the situation as well, said Williams-Thompson.

"We are all very concerned about this situation," Williams-Thompson said. She said she is reviewing school field trip policy and may make some changes.

"Teachers did follow district guidelines," she said. "But we will go back over our policies and likely add some, and hopefully this will never happen again."

Julie Boyle, spokeswoman for Lawrence Public Schools, said a district leader also is reviewing field trip policies to see whether any changes need to be made or whether there should be any additions.

Schaake's Pumpkin Patch


trueninetiesgirl 12 years, 2 months ago

i think if were my child i would be mad as #*. come on count the kids keep a better eye on then, oh yes take more help next time....

galfromku 12 years, 2 months ago

Wierd things like this happen. When I was a kid, the teachers had to take a head count before and did a roll call. We did not leave until everyone was there. On the other hand, sometimes the bus has to go ahead and leave. For example.... I grew up in Eudora and I had a brother and some of his buddies that got left at Shawnee Mission Park on a field trip. He was in about 6th grade. They had been in the nature trail and got lost. It was late in the day and the bus had to stay on schedule because it was needed to take the kids home who lived in the country. If the bus stayed at the park while they found the boys, it would cause all the kids on the field trip to be late getting home and MANY worried parents. There was certainly the potential to snowball into mass chaos. What the school did was find authorities to help with the search and keep several of the teacher chaperones at the park so someone would be there when the kids surfaced. The bus went ahead and drove back home and the principal himself called my folks and told them what happened. Back in the days before cell phones, all we could do was wait. The school sent administrative/faculty members to the park with their cars to assist with the situation. They finally found the boys and realized that the kids missed the deadline to meet back at the bus because they had taken a wrong turn on the nature trail and got lost. The principal brought the boys home around 6:30 or so that night. Given this, I know wierd things happen, but Kindergarteners..... ????? Come on , this is not like you are turning loose a bunch of 15 yr olds telling them to come back to the bus at 1:30. Kids in Kindergarten should have been kept a bit closer with more supervision and chaperones. I'd have been REAL upset if my 5 yr old got left....

countrygirl 12 years, 2 months ago

I happened to be out at the Pumpking Patch while the staff was trying to keep an eye on the little one who had been left behind--and they were having a heck of a time getting her to stay put. She had been told to stay in one place until someone from the school came to get her and she kept wandering off. Now we all know that 5 year olds will wander, and yes the teachers should have done a head count. But maybe that child will listen the next time a grown up tells her to do something. I certainly hope so! The next time it might not be at some place that is as kid friendly as the pumpkin patch.

hottruckinmama 12 years, 2 months ago

i'm afraid i wouldn't have been so understanding had it been my kid. how hard can it be to count kids before you leave?

formerksteacher 12 years, 2 months ago

YOU try counting 23 little 6 year olds all at once AND keeping them TOGETHER while they all line up and get on the bus!! It's like trying to herd cats. Throw in just one kid who won't stay where you tell her to, and you can easily leave one behind by accident, even when you're POSITIVE you counted 23 heads. People who have never tried to simultaneously take care of that many kids at once just don't realize.

nut_case 12 years, 2 months ago

Back in the day, we had ROLL CALL - everyone got on the bus, sat down, and the teacher called every students name and checked off the list before we went anywhere. Counting heads still only gives a number and if roll call or counting is done off the bus it is of minimal value because it still doesn't guarantee that everyone is on the bus.

Of course back in the day we were also taught to have RESPECT for our teachers and if we didn't, there was usually a paddle somewhere close at hand to remind us.

jayhawks71 12 years, 2 months ago

Fear is not Respect. You had a fear of a paddle. I suppose you were paddled and you "turned out all right?" However, the consequent is still up for debate.

hottruckinmama 12 years, 2 months ago

how very typical...once again a teacher whining about what they can't do!! seems like to me the only thing they can do well is whine for a raise they don't deserve.

nlf78 12 years, 2 months ago

I was from the Roll Call generation! You got on the bus and sat down. When your name was called you stood up and the teacher made eye contact with you. I would not have been as understanding as these parents!

galfromku 12 years, 2 months ago

formerksteacher... I HAVE kept that many kids all together at once. And I DO realize how difficult it is. I started a cub scout group that went from 7 boys to over 70 in a year. I personally handled these boys at camp with about 20-25 kids in my group (with no other assistance) and although it was challenging to keep the kids all together, I did it. Yes, some of the kids were "full of energy", but I never once lost control of them in 5 yrs. Part of the secret is like nut_case said... we were taught to have respect for those in charge. In the 6 yrs I was affiliated with scouting, the boys learned that there are rules to follow and expectations from them. Countrygirl is right... hopefully this child will learn something from it. I tell you what.... the kid needs to be told they run the risk of NOT having the priviledge of attending a future field trip because of this. Perhaps make them think twice about their behavior. Again.... as truenineties girl said.... take more help with you. I was always a volunteer parent on field trips while my kids were growing up. I have been a "room mother" and went along on so many trips that the bus drivers got to know me personally. in so many We enjoy making those memories also with the kids. Never once was there a lack of chapperones WHEN THE PARENTS WERE INVITED invited enough ahead of time to accompany the group. Problems occurred when parents were either not told in adequate time to make arrangments, or when the school NEVER asked for parent participation in the first place. I can't tell you how many times I had to take it upon myself to ask the school to let parents participate in such things. The really bad part is when they won't let the parent ride the bus... but want you there for crowd control after you get there. I have driven to Worlds of Fun, music field trips to Salina and Wichita and much more in my own car to be a part of this and offer support. Use the resources wisely... This is NOT rocket science.

countrygirl 12 years, 2 months ago

Just an addition--there were 3 buses leaving the pumpkin patch as my 6 year old son and I were pulling in. So there had to be a big bunch of very wiggly kids with them.

Redneckgal 12 years, 2 months ago

You are talking about a five year old here. Even the "good ones" are full of energy and unpredictable. Hopefully their are some consequences here for the teacher. "Hard to keep track of" doesn't cut the musturd with me. I worked at a daycare for 7 years. We took the kids on numerous outings and never not once did we lose a kid. Not even the hard to keep track of ones. If we had we would have been fired! No ifs ands or buts about it! I suppose that we are supposed to think that since this is a poor overworked teacher that lost this child we should blame it on the parents the kid and society in general. Everyone EXCEPT the teacher who lost her. I don't buy it not for a minute.

countrygirl 12 years, 2 months ago

Just curious redneckgal, did you every take 3 buses of kids at once on an outing? And how many sponsors/teachers would you need to keep track of that many kids?

concerned_citizen 12 years, 2 months ago

It has to be said...So much for "No Child Left Behind."

Redneckgal 12 years, 2 months ago

We took 2 buses one time full of kids to the Topeka zoo and not just 5 years olds. We had toddlers as young as 2 all the way up to 6 year olds. I think we probably had about 7 helpers in all. I'm sorry I don't feel sorry for the teacher not one bit. That is the first rule of child care. YOU KEEP TRACK OF THE KIDS NO MATTER WHAT! Anybody with a bachlor degree and a teaching license should be smart enough to figure out how to do that!

memoirs_of_a_sleepwalker 12 years, 2 months ago

Modern cubicle life. Go back to it. Do your jobs! Do you all really have that much free time to waste at work?!

countrygirl 12 years, 2 months ago

Note to sleepwalker--what does that have to do with the discussion?
I'm just wondering how many kids there were versus how many adults? And yes, I'd be pretty hot if my son had been the one left behind. But I'd also be asking him if he did what his teachers told him too---ie stay where he was supposed too.

tell_it_like_it_is 12 years, 2 months ago

Losing a 5 year old is totally unacceptable-I don't care what the excuse and I'm sure there were plenty of them. Bottom line is this: If you can't keep track of them you have no business teaching them.

hurlehey 12 years, 2 months ago

Kline, i think they should tie the kids together with a rope and leg irons, have them sing hymnals, and call the teachers "boss" when they want a drink.

Whats the big deal? Dumb kid gets separated from group in a crowded area, gets found and is okay. 1000 years ago that kid would have been eaten by animals. What would really be a good news story would be to follow that kid around and see how many other times he does something dawrinawardesque.

Terry Bush 12 years, 2 months ago

Things like this caused my son and daughter-in-law (who are, by the way, NOT fundamentalist Christians etc) to home school my grandchild(ren). Sadly perhaps, the government provided good and safe education is no longer something many parents are willing to rely upon. The safety and sanity of a child is a precious thing. This story only points out one of the many types of school screw ups that can cause a parent to take on this task themselves and eschew letting someone else be responsible for their child.

Dayna Lee 12 years, 2 months ago

When I was in school we used "cross-grade" partners. This meant that a sixth grader was teamed up with a kindergardener for events like going to the Pumpkin Patch. It always went well and the younger kids liked having someone "big" to carry their pumpkin. This might be the way to go next time.

Steve Jacob 12 years, 2 months ago

Someone will get fired for it, not now maybe, but end of school year.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 12 years, 2 months ago

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm put collars on all of them, and use long leashes. Thank you, Lynn

momof3 12 years, 2 months ago

Yes, it was a bad situation for the child to get left. But the child didn't seem upset by it, the patch was able to take good care of her And the parents are not upset, according to the article. We are not the child's parents. Get over it. It worked out. No one got hurt. The school and the district is making changes. Lessons learned, get over yourselves.

momof3 12 years, 2 months ago

geez...has no one ever lost their child at the store. Am I the only one? I don't think so....

DadAndFormerTeacher 12 years, 2 months ago

It must be nice for so many of you that live in glass houses...

Nikki May 12 years, 2 months ago

So, Dad, you think this is acceptable? I've taken large groups on trips plenty of times in the last 11 years. We ALWAYS have lists of who is in the group. We have attendance sheets, as well as a list of who is in which group. I'd be horrified if I left a child behind. And, YES, I take 20+ kindergarteners ALL THE TIME. I count before loading, I count when we are in the vehicles, and then again when we get back to the center. I am always counting, it's obsessive, but I'd rather not lose a kid.

Oh, and for the record, those loud wild ones are NEVER forgotten. In fact, if it gets too quite, the first thing I do is say "Where is xxxx?"

Now, as a parent, I've also gone on trips. Most of the time, the teachers will assign the parents a certain number of children. For example, last year I went to wonderscope and kaliedoscope with the first graders at prairie park. I had my child and two others. I was given a little card with which kids I had in my group. I also had on there a reminder about the child in my group had a peanut allergy and off we went. We all got our groups back on the bus at the end of the day. Then the teachers did a roll call anyway.

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